Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My first article in Austin Monthly!

Before we get going here, please note that I thought about naming the title of this post:

"Girl Meets Bok Choy."

Because isn't that far more exciting to read than "My first article in Austin Monthly?"  Yes.  Yes it is.

But then I decided it sounded like a post about gardening.  And it is.  Except not about a girl.  Especially not this girl.

Ok, enough monkey business: Here's my story!


Austin Monthly asked me to write this article about my friend Zach, creator of Yard Farm Austin, and an especially cool project he did for Smith Elementary School here in town.  A low-income school where approximately 90% of the kids are on free or reduced school lunches, Smith got a grant last year for various student enrichment activities, and wanted to build a garden.  So they found Zach, he came out, and built the school a huge, 6,400 square foot farm. 

The kids now grow a ton of vegetables, and in their after-school program, learn how to harvest and cook them.  Which is awesome, because as a former purchaser-of-school-lunches myself, I distinctly remember the greasy tater tots heaped on my tray, and sipping that pink, "strawberry" flavored milk.  The way my napkin turned transparent when I blotted oil off the top of my pizza ... square-shaped, mass-produced pizza.

So Zach's farm for Smith is pretty inspiring, and reminds me of Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard project in California.  I tend to think that for our parents' generation, tobacco was their cross to bear.  And they were successful too, because even if they smoke, everyone my age now knows that cigarettes are BAD.  Nutrition is the same way these days for 20 and 30-somethings: There's this collective sense that we have to feed our kids better.

Anyway, Zach actually designed and built the vegetable garden at our house too, and we love it.  Arugula grows like gangbusters here, and last Fall, peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers did also!  Here are pics of Zach's handiwork:

 
That's our garden in the middle pic.  Check out those massive squash plant leaves. 

Ross and I are moving at the end of this month (whoa) and are definitely hiring Zach to build us another garden.  Here is his site if you live in Austin want a garden, too. 

***

P.S. Ross came in here just now, and I told him how badly I wanted to use "Girl Meets Bok Choy" for this post.

Then I told him how many good gardening puns I have and nowhere to use them.

That got him going, and then I tried to one-up him, and now we have several story ideas for the imaginary gardening magazine we both write for.  Would you like to hear them?:

"Beet It" (for a story on beets)

"Lettuce Pray" (for a story about a church that makes salad)

"Like a Gherkin" (for a story about Madonna, gardening)

Better Homes and Gardens, we eagerly await your phone call.

5 comments:

Katie said...

You and Ross are hysterical.
Hmmm, moving, did y'all buy a house? Congrats!

bsimms8907 said...

Congrats on the article! How did you get involved writing for Austin Monthly?

Nicole Mlakar-Livingston said...

Congrats Tolly! That's awesome!

William Mange said...

This is such a great way to give back to the community and to teach young people some great and valuable things that they can take with them into adulthood!

Mandy said...

Congrats on the article. Like a Gherkin made me laugh out loud!