Dig Into Reading!

On Saturday June 15th, Sol Food Mobile Farm had the pleasure of joining the Durham County Library fo

Spring Season with Sol Food!

Dear friends, family and neighbors, Thank you for your continued support of Sol Food Mobile Farm!  

Winter Season with Sol Food

    Happy winter season from Sol Food Mobile Farm!  Your favorite bus is staying warm in its

 

Dig Into Reading!

July 7, 2013 in Bus Expos

On Saturday June 15th, Sol Food Mobile Farm had the pleasure of joining the Durham County Library for their “Dig Into Reading” community fair at North Gate Mall. The weather was perfect and our excitement level was high as the bus pulled into the North Gate plaza and found its parking spot right next to the inflatable slide and the DJ booth. There was an amazing turnout of all ages of kids and their families and everyone was lining up to get a tour through the bus and a chance to practice their green thumbs in the greenhouse with Connor. The DJ played some sweet music as the crowds made their way through the different booths at the fair eventually ending up at the door to the bus. As the day progressed there was actually a line out of the bus door and folks were packed shoulder to shoulder inside our mobile farm. We got a chance to talk to kids, with their faces freshly painted, about solar power and rainwater collection and everyone got a chance to plant a seed in the greenhouse for our summer and fall crop. The kids planted squash, pepper and watermelon seeds that will soon go in the ground all over Durham. We had such a blast and the fair was full of amazing energy and the Sol Food Mobile Farm team cant wait for more opportunities to work with the Durham County Library at their many different branches.

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Spring Season with Sol Food!

May 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Sol Food Mobile Farm bus!

Dear friends, family and neighbors,

Thank you for your continued support of Sol Food Mobile Farm!  Due to a busy spring schedule we have taken a momentary break from our blog.  For those of you interested in following our expos and workshops- we promise you an update soon!  There are blog posts in the making that will be posted as soon as possible.  The reason for our website lag has been to due to a packed schedule of events this spring (which you can follow on our Current Events page HERE).  We have had our hands in the dirt more than on the computer keyboard in these last few weeks…  Please stay tuned this month for more updates and pictures of our planting workshops, our new farm located in Durham and our recent travel photos!  If you would like to make a workshop request or simply just drop us a line, please email our crew at SolFoodMobileFarm@gmail.com.

Currently we are en route to New Bern, North Carolina for the “Active Living, Healthy Eating” Convention!  Please check out our event page for more details on how to catch the bus.

 

Much love and appreciation,

The Bus Crew

Planting in the bus greenhouse, March 2013!

Winter Season with Sol Food

February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Sol Food bus hunkered down for winter in North Carolina!

 

Happy winter season from Sol Food Mobile Farm!  Your favorite bus is staying warm in its hometown of Durham, North Carolina right now, despite the recent ice and snow.  Our bus is even producing seedlings in the bus greenhouse in preparation for a busy spring.

 As you may know, our Sol Food Mobile Farm team recently completed a 12,000 mile National Teaching Tour, just over a month ago.  Our team of four crew members, Ellen Duda, Reid Rosemond, Dylan Hammond and Eliza Bordley lived full time on the Sol Food bus for the entire 6 month trip.  During that time our group traveled from June -December of 2012, crossing 34 states and making 51 different stops in our mobile greenhouse!  This past month of January 2013 was spent resting up after such an incredible journey and planning for the coming months.

Ellen working at Earth Works in Detroit!

 During our Tour we focused on our mission of supporting local agriculture and sustainable engery systems through community development.  We offered free workshops and expositions to school groups, farmers markets, community organizations and every passerby that wanted to learn more about our program.  It was a fantastic year for Sol Food Mobile Farm and we thank all of our friends, families and neighbors for their support throughout the trip.

Currently, during the month of February, we have been putting together our spring and summer workshop schedule.   If you have suggestions for our group or would like to host the Sol Food Mobile Farm bus at your school or community gathering, we would love to try and make that happen!  The best way to line up a Sol Food Workshop or Expo is to email our crew at: solfoodmobilefarm@gmail.com.  You can learn more about these Workshops and Expos here on our website.  These bookings are free of charge and adaptable to all age groups!

Planting workshop with the crew in Chicago!

Want to learn more about our 2012 National Tour?  You can check out our recent PBS episode to see our farm team in action.  Just click HERE for 20 minutes of exclusive clips, interviews of shots from our voyage!  Now that our National Tour is over however, you may ask  “what next”?  You may also wonder if we are doing another trip soon or where the bus can be seen next?

All of these questions are good ones, and we would like to give you a sneek peek into our spring 2013 schedule.  We can also tell you that our bus is safe in sound on a farm in Durham, North Carolina.  There it is recieving a good cleaning, some much needed engine attention and an overall facelift.  As for our spring schedule, you can find all the information you need here on our website under the “Event” tab.

 We would like to thank you again for your support and encouragement as we prepare for hopefully another great season.  Starting this April, we will be back on the road and ready to get growin’!

Students admiring their new garden beds in Austin!

 

 

New Orleans, LA

December 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe that Sol Food has reached the final city of our national tour. We have visited a lot of special places on our tour and New Orleans is one of the best cities we could have chosen for our final visit. This city is truly unique unto itself and we have discovered the powerful community who is involved in their food justice movement.
 

Urban chickens in the French Quarter

 
In New Orleans we were connected to their Edible Schoolyard Program and were able to visit 3 out of their 5 schools involved. The Edible Schoolyard is an amazing program that gives kids hands on experience in a garden all throughout elementary school. The first school we visited was John Dibert Community School. We gave expos to their after school garden club and took a tour of their beautiful garden.
 

Green Charter School's gorgeous edible schoolyard

 
The next day we visited Green Charter School. Green has an amazing garden that is filled with seasonal vegetables, a wetlands, and a butterfly garden! We were blown away by their garden, as well as their state of the art kitchen classroom. Alongside working in the garden, the students learn how to cook the produce and create healthy meals. We gave expos to 5th, 2nd and 1st graders. The students were very excited about the bus and were equally excited to show us around their garden! After teaching at Green we drove over to Arthur Ashe Charter to give expos to 4th, 5th, and 8th graders. Arthur Ashe Charter had brand new facilities and an entire acre to build their new garden on! We had a full day with lots of smart questions and excited students. We were amazed by how knowledgable the ESY students were and how big their school gardens were.
 

Grow Dat's cool storage container headquarters

 
On Friday we had a non-stop day from start to finish. In the morning the Sol Food crew visited Charter Math and Science High School. We worked with the special needs morning classes, that worked in their school garden a few times each week. The small group of students in each class took tours of the bus and then showed us the projects they were working on. We made pesto from the basil in their garden and each student bravely tried the homemade sauce that was entirely new to them. After a warm send off from the kids at Sci High, we drove over to the Grow Dat Youth Farm in City Park. Grow Dat is a farm that trains young adults to become leaders through growing food.The farm was created on an old golf course that was ruined during Katrina. The land they occupy now has three large garden plots and a beautiful teaching center created out of old storage containers. When we arrived, we met the farm manager Leo Gorman and some of the interns who were involved with the farm. Right away we got to work and helped amend new garden plots with compost. After shoveling compost for an hour the interns gave us a thorough tour of the farm. It was wonderful to see a plot of land that was once just grass become a flourishing farm. Our final stop of the day was at the College Track Health and Wellness day. College Track is an after school program for high school students, to help them succeed in their classes. We had the privilege of being part of their Health and Wellness day and provided an expo for the students and their families.
 

Lush greens at Holly Grove Farm

 
Our final day in New Orleans we spent at the Holly Grove Farm & Market. In the middle of a bustling neighborhood was this sweet farm that was filled with lush produce. Every square inch was covered with a raised bed or hydroponics. We were lucky enough to park the bus in their garden and provide expos to people who were visiting their farmers’ market. It was a beautiful final day of our trip and it felt only right to be spending our day amongst fresh veggies and good people.
 

The entire crew on the final day of our trip

 
After six months of digging, driving, planting, learning and teaching, our national tour has finally come to an end. This trip has been an amazing experience that none of us would trade for the world. We are so thankful to everyone who supported us along the way. We look forward to returning home and using the knowledge we gained from our tour to continue to advocate for healthy, nutritious, and locally grown food.
 

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

This Thanksgiving the entire Sol Food crew is thankful for the opportunity that we have been given. Thanks to the support of our friends, family and everyone in between, who have been able to make this dream a reality. We are thankful for the fresh produce we have eaten, the gardens we have been involved in, and all of the wonderful people we have met along the way. This year has been monumental for us all and we would like to thank each and every person who helped us a long the way.

 

We hope everyone has a delicious Thanksgiving and that you all get some of your dinner from a local farmer!

Lafayette, LA

November 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ayyeeeeee, from Louisiana! (“Ayyeee” means Awesome in Cajun… or so we’ve been told).

Driving over the swamp on highway 10

Our most recent stop in Lafayette was one that came together through word of mouth. When we first were planning our trip to Louisiana, we were unsure of whether or not we would stop in Lafayette. During our travels we have begun to attract media attention, which has helped to spread our message ahead of us. After reading our article in Urban Farming, a wonderful woman named Janie contacted us from Lafayette. She is the child life specialist at the Women and Children’s Hospital, who helps new children that come into the hospital adjust to their stay there. Janie invited us to come and share our bus with some of the children at the hospital. We have never taken our bus to a hospital before, but we were more than happy to make the trip.

Dylan setting up at Women and Children's Hospital

When we arrived at the hospital, we parked near the children’s wing so that it was easy for them to get to the bus. For many of these kids it was one of the few opportunities they had to leave their rooms and they were all thrilled to take a “field trip.”  One at a time the children visited the bus with their parents. Many of the kids were a little shy at first, cautiously walking through the bus and looking at the plants. However, as soon as we asked if they wanted to see our “pets”, they all broke into grins and giggled as we showed them our giant box of worms. We were all very thankful for the opportunity to share our quirky bus with these bright kids from the Women and Children’s Hospital. We met so many sweet and curious kids, who were happy to be outside in the fresh air. It was a touching experience to share our realized dream with children who have dreams just as big. Before we left, the hospital staff gave us blankets and thanked us for our visit.

New bus driver we met at Women and Children's Hospital

Our next day in Lafayette, everything fell into place regardless of any effort on our part. After our visit at the hospital, we were contacted by couple that owned the local Great Harvest Bread Company. They asked us to give tours outside of their bakery during lunch hour. Our day was completely open, so we drove over to their bakery and gave tours for three hours. When we finished our expo, JP and Michelle, the owners, were very gracious and gave us a free lunch plus a few loaves of bread. They gave us a tour of their bakery and we got to see the stone grinder that they use to grind all of the wheat for the bread. Because we are a group that cares about whole foods, we really appreciated learning about the whole wheat flour that is ground on site for their bread. 

Sunset on the Bayou

After we left the bakery, the Sol Food crew drove over to the Freetown Farmers’ Market upon suggestions we were given at the bakery. There were artisans and farmers intermingled throughout the market. We met a potter who sourced all of his clay from the Lafayette river and made jams out of grapes and persimmons that he foraged along the river. We gave tours until the market ended and left with produce from some of the local farmers.

Parked up at the Freetown Farmers' Market

Our final day in Lafayette, we visited St. Pius Elementary school for a day of teaching with 6th graders and kindergardeners. St. Pius has a school garden that they are going to up-fit with new compost bins. As part of our expo with the 6th graders we taught about the components of compost and how to have a successful compost pile. We had a great day with the St. Pius students and their teachers.

Talking to students about waste vegetable oil

Lafayette was a great first stop in Louisiana. We met extremely nice people and got a little taste of Louisiana living. As we drive further east, towards New Orleans, we are continuously greeted with great southern hospitality. Only three more weeks left in our trip and still so much to do!

Final leg of our trip!

Austin, TX: Part 2

November 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

The final four days of our visit in Austin were jam-packed with events! On Wednesday we visited Cedars International Academy and held an expo with kindergartners, first graders and sixth graders. All of the younger students stared at our bus with wonderment and excitement. It is truly invigorating to watch a child’s imagination run wild when they see our bus for the first time. Nothing rejuvenates our sense of excitement more than the gasps and exclamations of children who are excited and eager to learn. After giving tours to the students, they helped us plant new seeds for our winter crops in the greenhouse. Later that day, we drove to the Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers’ Market at The Triangle. The market had great atmosphere with live music, happy families, and amazing local produce. We were lucky enough to meet the owner of Johnson’s Backyard Garden and hear about his amazing farm success story. In a matter of 4 years, Brenton Johnson was able to expand from selling produce from his backyard garden to having a flourishing 200 acre farm. It was truly a privilege to meet a humble farmer who was just as excited about growing organic produce as we are!

Cedars International Academy students planting Kale

The following day we drove out to Urban Roots Farm, to participate in their volunteer day. Urban Roots is based around a youth development program that teaches essential life skills through sustainable agriculture. A majority of the produce is donated to local soup kitchens and food pantries. Their 3.5 acre farm tucked in the woods of East Austin cranks out around 30,000 pounds of produce a year! On this particular day at the farm there were over 20 volunteers. With so many pairs of hands, we were able to make quick work of all the harvesting. The Sol Food crew had a wonderful time meeting and working with new people while pulling veggies from the earth.

Turnips harvested at Urban Roots

Our final school visit in Austin was to St. Edward’s University. We were connected with the Students for Sustainability club and gave tours to many of their members. It was exciting to hear about the students’ campus garden and the shed they plan on making with a green roof. We were able to share ideas with them about the best way to make a green roof and show them ours as an example. At the end of the day the students gave us tons of suggestions on the best restaurants in town for some good grub.

Eliza washing zucchini at Urban Roots

Saturday, our last full day in Austin, was one of our favorite work days. We had the privilege of being a part of a major campus transformation at Cedars International Academy. The Humana Foundation had given a grant to the school that allowed them to bring KaBOOM! to build a brand new playground, vegetable garden, and a butterfly garden. KaBOOM! is an organization that travels around the country building playgrounds for communities, all in one day. On Saturday, over 200 volunteers worked together to build picnic tables, a huge playground, 8 raised garden beds, plant an entire butterfly garden and add artwork all over campus. We were shocked at how much was accomplished in only 8 hours!! There was so much enthusiasm all day, that it didn’t even feel like work. It was wonderful to be part of a project that  will continue to be a huge gift to students for years to come. We left the workday exhausted, covered in dirt and paint, but with huge smiles on our faces.

Students admiring their new garden beds

After our long workday, we were lucky enough to be invited to the house of a our new friend Ellen Rozman. We met her at the Triangle Farmer’s Market and she was generous enough to invite us to her house for hot showers. She and her wonderful family took us out a delicious dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant. It was wonderful to end our busy week in Austin at the house of a gracious family.

Cedar Academy's volunteers posing with the new playground

It is safe to say that everyone in the Sol Food crew had a wonderful time in Austin. We all fell in love with the city (and secretly want to move there). The eleven days that we spent in Austin flew by and brought us one city closer to being home. We will miss all of the wonderful friends we made and all of the delicious food that we enjoyed.  The road calls us forward once more and we must drive on to Louisiana.

Planting the butterfly garden at Cedars Academy International

Austin, TX: Part 1

November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Howdy from Austin!! The Sol Food crew has finally made it back to the south, where grits, biscuits, and the locals saying “ya’ll” is normal. Despite the fact that the entire crew is visiting Austin for the very first time, we all feel right at home. So far Sol Food has been in Austin for a week and is loving the city more and more every day.

Frost Bank in downtown Austin

The first two days of our visit we had the luxury of checking out all the cool spots in Austin. In the downtown area, the crew members were able to visit the Frost Bank tower that was designed by their sponsor Duda/Paine Architects. On South Congress St, there were funky art shops and dozens of amazing food trucks! At sunset, Dylan and Ellen watched the Mexican free-tailed bats swarm out from under the Congress Bridge. Austin has so much to offer, that it’s no wonder it’s the fastest growing city in the country.

Mexican Free-tail bats flying away for the night

After two wonderful days of exploring, we visited Green Gate Farm. This sustainable, organic farm was founded by Skip Connett and Erin Flynn. We had the privilege of meeting Erin and getting a tour from her. Green Gate was our first encounter with pigs on this trip! Erin raises a rare-breed of pigs called Guinea Hogs. These hogs are especially unique because they graze on grass as oppose to food scraps (although they do enjoy a pumpkin or two). Along with their pigs, Green Gate has chickens, goats, and lots of beautiful produce. Erin was an extremely knowledgeable farmer and she taught us a lot about the history of Austin’s farm land.

Guinea Hog piglets chowing down on old jack-o-lanterns

For the first half of our trip we didn’t get to work with many schools, because a lot of kids were on summer vacation. However, now that schools are back in full swing we are visiting as many as possible. The first school we visited in Austin was Overton Elementary. We worked with their Boys & Girls club after school program. Overton Elementary has a beautiful, small vegetable garden that the students work in regularly. Ms. St. Lucie, the teacher whose class we worked with, thought it would a great idea to add a vermicomposting bin to the garden. After giving tours of the bus to all the excited students, we worked with them to build a brand new worm bin and plant seeds for fall vegetables. A lot of the students were very eager to be a part of the worm bin construction. It was very sweet to see them show off their handiwork to their parents at the end of the day. We all had a wonderful time with the students at Overton Elementary and look forward to hearing about their experiences with the new worms!

Students finishing the worm bin!

Our next school stop was at Trinity Episcopal School. We spent half the day giving tours to a science  class of eighth graders and all the fourth graders. The Eighth grade science class was focusing on creating a green business and what steps go into creating a project like ours. We were able to talk to these students about the planning stages of our non-profit  and how to stay organized. The fourth graders were learning about problem solving and what to do when something doesn’t go according to plan. We were the perfect people to ask these questions to because our trip has been filled with problem solving! The entire Sol Food crew was blown away by the insightful questions all of the students asked and their intense attention to detail.

Reid teaching about rain catchment

On Tuesday, we visited Widen Elementary School. They have a very small garden that needed some tender loving care. Along with a group of excited second graders, we amended the soil with organic compost and planted seedlings from our greenhouse. All of the students attentively planted there seedlings and proudly gave them names. It is always inspiring to watch a child plant a seedling for the first time. They always radiate with a strong sense of accomplishment. It is these reactions that make our work greatly fulfilling.

Students planting seeds to take home

Stay tuned for more news about our action packed week in Austin. We will be visiting two more schools, a farmers’ market and two more farms!!

Happy Halloween!!

November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

Sol Food will be haunted by this grease trap forever!

This grease trap was neither a trick nor a treat. It is safe to say that this grease trap has made us never want to eat fast food again! Happy Halloween everyone!

El Paso & Carlsbad Cavern

November 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

As we now enter into the final month of our cross-country tour, we find ourselves increasingly closer to home in time zones, miles, and weeks. It’s hard to imagine that we have already experienced 4 months of our long anticipated cross-country journey and now there is only one month left! Just like every other month on this trip, it will be rich with experiences, new faces, and feel like an eternity, however it will also pass before us like the blink of an eye. As we quickly approach our trip’s end, the crew is trying to soak up every city, face, conversation, sunset, garden, and adventure, so that we can create a stronger future for Sol Food Mobile Farm.

Eno in the desert

In the last week of October we blasted through the southwest. After a fun-filled stop in Phoenix, AZ, we drove to El Paso, TX to visit an old friend from high school. It was wonderful to see our friend Nate and share stories with each other. Just by being with a friend from North Carolina, we all felt a little closer to home. One of the wonderful surprises of our stop in El Paso was that we were visiting on the weekend of Nate’s neighborhood block party. As soon as we parked outside of his house, the neighbors immediately approached us and asked if we would participate by giving tours of the bus.  We had not originally planned on spending the night, but their invitation was one that we could not refuse.

Eliza and Ellen changing the filters for the veggie oil in El Paso

The block party was a great success, with tons of visitors aboard the big red bus. We spent half the day giving an expo at the Sunset Park block party and then finished our visit in El Paso with grease trips to numerous fast food restaurants. With a full tank of waste vegetable oil and new filters we headed east to Carlsbad, NM.

"Big Room" in Carlsbad Cavern

Our dear friend Jourdi had highly recommended that we visit the Carlsbad Caverns on our drive east, because she had loved the caverns when she visited them during her cross country trip. Jourdi’s recommendation was not in vain, because we were all blown away by this natural phenomena.  The four of us hiked into the natural entrance of the cave and descended 700 feet into the magnificent caverns. The structures of the cave took our breath away because of their large scale and intensity! It was fascinating to learn about how such a magnificent cavern is created and felt truly humbled by its beauty. The Carlsbad Caverns were a gem in our trip through the southwest.

Descending into the caverns

As we continue our trek across the huge state of Texas, we will be stopping in Austin to get down and dirty in some community gardens! Yeehaw!

Moonrise in the desert