Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflections from Nicole as another season winds down...

Every season is different, and perhaps this is what brings us back to year after year of gardening; each day is truly an adventure, and even more so when it's shared with friends new and old! And this year with the Elkhart Local Food Alliance has been no different. We've added new gardens and gardeners to our collective, worked with new kids in our 4-H programming, incoporated top bar beekeeping into our educational programming, and are beginning work on a new greenhouse project. Much more than vegetables are growing here, it seems! And perhaps best of all, our relationships with each other and the land on which we live here in Elkhart County, are also growing. I am continually delighted as I experience the delight of others when they are first introduced to a new plant, a new wild edible, a new taste in the garden - and this reminds me of what it's truly all about! We are becoming more connected - to each other, to the earth, to the subtle shifts in our local climate, to the turning of the seasons, to where our food comes from... and through all of this becoming more connected to ourselves!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Updates and Photographs!

After another wonderful Summer of 4-H and much joy at the recent Elkhart County 4-H fair we are delighted to continue watching the bounty of our gardens grow, blossom and fruit! Here are some pictures from around the Jubilee Neighborhood Demonstration Garden.
Maddie Made Pickles from Cucumbers harvested at the Garden of Eden!

Bounty from the Garden of Eden!

Volunteer Cosmos!

We finally got the sign put up thanks to Volunteers from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary's !Explore program!

The Three Sisters: Corn, Beans and Squash

A 4-Headed Sunflower

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

UPCOMING EVENTS!!! (Not to be missed....)

There are LOTS of amazing events happening in the next few weeks here in Elkhart! Don't miss out! 

1st: This Thursday for 4-H there is an Urban Wild Edibles Hike! Meet at Jubilee House at 4:30! This is a great opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and recognize sources of free food right where we live! 

2nd: ELFA Spring Kick-Off!!!! Meet at Jubilee House at 3 p.m. on SUNDAY (this Sunday) May 15th! We will travel by bike (so bring your bike, or if you are unable there will be vans) to 7 of the ELFA Gardens to install our new SIGNS (thanks to Sam Jerome!) and then meet back at the Roosevelt Center Park for a potluck! 

3rd: Rise up Farms is hosting a 5K on Saturday the 21st! It is sure to be a great time! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hawthorne Elementary School Garden Kick-Off!!!

 Hawthorne Garden!!

We've had an AMAZING time kicking off the Hawthorne Elementary School Garden Project. A great group of kids showed up, our beds are ready (manure all mixed in!) and we are excited to explore themes of Food Justice, Interconnectedness, Garden Literacy, and---a topic the kids are surprisingly interested in-Companion Planting! 

Last week we shaped up our beds to get them ready for planting, explored the world of Worms and Ducks and continued getting to know each other and build relationships. 

Any and All volunteers are welcome! Join us any Monday at 2:30 p.m. in the Courtyard of Hawthorne Elementary School!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meeting: 3:00 @ Jubiee House! Tuesday, April 19th.

South Side Clovers::: EVERY Thursday at 4:30!
3:00 at Jubilee House! Everyone Welcome! 
From Nicole: 
"dear gardening friends!

> just a reminder to you more regular attenders that we will have our ELFA
> meeting tomorrow at 3pm at jubilee house. please let me know either way if
> you're able to be there.
> a few items on the table:
> - updates from each garden coordinator
> - rhapsody in green tabling?
> - envirofest tabling?
> - spring kick-offs and garden signs
> - donation request updates
> - urban beekeeping in elkhart!!
> - other?
> hope to see you tomorrow!"

Fixing Bikes to Get Ready For Spring!

Jubilee Neighborhood Demonstration Garden


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Signs of Spring

Last week for 4-H we explored some of the budding signs of Spring in our neighborhood and in the Garden around Jubilee House!

Here are just a few of the beautiful reminders of Spring around Jubilee:::

Future Raspberries....Yum!

Volunteer Rhubarb :-)

The Plants in the Windows keep getting Bigger!

Monday, April 11, 2011

April Updates for Elkhart Local Food Alliance! Join in the Fun!

After yesterday's weather, who wouldn't be ready to get in the garden!??!  Luckily, there are many opportunities to get involved!
Donation Requests: 
we could use the following:
- tomato cages/stakes
- manure/organic matter
- potting soil
- tools
- seed-starting trays
- shelves and lights for starting seeds
- perennials (like strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, asparagus, fruit trees, etc)
- irrigation equipment (rain barrels, hoses, drip lines, etc)
- flower bulbs

Upcoming Events:
4-H: Every Thursday!
Every Thursday4:30-6:00 at Jubilee House, 1320 Prairie Street, OR next door at Prairie Street Mennonite Church. Come join in a variety of educational programs ! All are welcome.
This week, we'll be continuing work on our new top bar bee hives!
Rise Up Farms Work Day
Join us this Sunday, April 17th, 1-4pm, for a work day on the farm.
Next ELFA Meeting
All are welcome to join our next ELFA meeting on Tuesday, April 19th, 3:00-5:30 at Jubilee House, 1320 Prairie Street. Come and participate in planning for this growing season and upcoming events!
Spring Garden Kick-off!
Join us for a bicycle tour of all eight of our gardens on Sunday afternoon, May 15th. We'll visit each garden, install our new garden signs, do some planting of warm-weather crops, share some food, and invite the press. Stay tuned for more details!
Rise up Farms 5K Fun Run/Walk
Register now for this 5k run/walk to benefit Rise Up Farms on Saturday, May 21st at 8:00am. The race will be followed with a picnic at the farm (fresh salad and veggies provided and grown on site!), and farm and barn tours. Prizes include a CSA share, or a facial. We'll also be selling tickets to raffle off a CSA share - and will draw the winner after the race!
Rise Up Farms Raffle Ticket Sales
Call to get your raffle tickets, and a chance to when a share in our CSA! Ticket prices as follows:
1 for $5
2 for $8
3 for $10
Local Maple Syrup for sale!
Rise Up Farms has a limited number of bottles left from this year's maple syrup season. Call ASAP to place your order!
Community Garden Plots!!We still have plots available at many of our 8 sites throughout the city. Please contact us if you are interested in having a plot for yourself or your family.

Community Supported Agriculture!!Rise Up Farms still has shares available for this year's CSA. Please be in touch if you are interested in purchasing one, or participating in our work share program (volunteering in exchange for a weekly box of vegetables).
Nicole Bauman

Doula, DONA trained

Neighborhood Food Coordinator
Elkhart Local Food Alliance

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hawthorne Garden Meeting, March 17th, 6:30 PM

Hawthorne Elementary School Garden::: 

Join us for an informational meeting for Parents, Teachers and all interested Students or Volunteers! 
March 17th, at 6:30 P.M. at Hawthorne Elementary School (Meeting place to be announced!)

Hawthorne Elementary 501 West Lusher Ave.
Elkhart, IN 46517

 Our early vision for the Hawthorne Garden will include:
-Education: A curriculum that reinforces Science Standards in a hands-on way, as well as addressing Food Security/Justice issues and giving kids a solid foundation in Gardening Practices! A weekly program at the garden is a definite possibility....
-Harvest:  Sharing food with Hawthorne Families and families of students and parents who volunteer to help with the Garden.

We are, of course, always looking for volunteers!!!
Contact Caitlin Desjardins or Nicole Bauman, if you are interested in learning more! Jasmine Tabler, of 4-H and Jubilee House Community Meal, is also excited about having a leadership role in this project!


The Jubilee House living room is HOPING for Spring, though the Snow outside the windows may seem neverending, we now have Real, Alive GROWING THINGS (i.e. Seed Starts!)!!! Here are some pictures from our most recent planning meeting and our very own future food!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Joy of Fundraising!

It's that time of year! ELFA is gearing up for the growing season and, as a part of that, writing grants and planning fundraisers! If you are interested in being involved or helping support us: take note!

First, we are profoundly grateful to the Elkhart County Community Foundation for the ways they supported us last year. Through the funds they provided us ELFA was able to start a number of gardens, strengthen programming and leadership and grow (and give!) a lot of food!
You can find more information about ECCF here:
Elkhart County Community Foundation

There are some EASY ways to support us, if you are interested. ONE is through Nature's Crossroads, where you can simply buy your seeds for this year (many locally grown!) and a portion of the proceeds will go to ELFA. The link is (and you have to use THIS link in order for proceeds to go to ELFA!)
Nature's Crossroads ELFA Fundraiser

Also, as you are looking at your flower pots, stacked in your basement or barren on your porch, imagine a plethora of beautiful geraniums (white, pink and red) filling them and bringing beauty and joy to your home and neighborhood. YES: it's time for the annual 4-H geranium sale. Single pots sell for $1.25! For more information e-mail
or Caitlin.

And, as always, more than money we are simply excited to have any, and everybody, come and join us and experience the joy of growing food TOGETHER.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Elkhart Local Food Alliance (ELFA): Who We Are, What We Do

Elkhart Local Food Alliance:
Planting seeds of hope through neighborhood gardening and collective education; strengthening our neighborhoods through empowering relationships with each other and the earth

Core Values:
-      empowerment through education and skill-building
-      strength through community collaboration
-      based in West and South Central Elkhart, reaching out to the rest of the city, county and region
-      grassroots-based, resident-led
-      networking with allies
-      approaching “health and wellness” with a holistic and integrated vision
-      undoing oppression in all of it's forms
-      food security, meaning access to fresh, local, pesticide-free food for all people, and skills to produce this food autonomously
-      autonomy for historically marginalized communities
-      respect for the earth and all of the life it supports
-      meeting people where they're at; embodying flexibility in our programming and emphasizing relationships to best respond to local realities
-      consensus
-      inspired by hope, creativity and possibility

Building Community: Community Meal (Wednesdays at 6pm, Jubilee House, 1320 Prairie Street)

Bringing Beauty to our Neighborhoods

Sharing Good Food!

Fostering Conversations

Celebrating Much Growth

The Elkhart Local Food Alliance is made up of community members and supported by local organizations grounded in the neighborhoods of South Central Elkhart. We seek to cultivate community and create food security through a variety of interactive programs. We can create food security by having greater control over and knowledge about where and how our food is grown, particularly by using space in our own neighborhoods to grow food for ourselves and our neighbors. Food security also means creating access to nutritious food and education about good food choices in all neighborhoods. We are committed to empowering ourselves and our neighbors to do just that, by seeking out and creating thriving, local, sustainable food systems and culture. In our diverse community, food and food cultivation can bring us together for vibrant sharing and collaboration. ELFA is committed to creating educational programs and neighborhood gardening spaces which will strengthen our health, economy, environment and community. At the root of our work is a commitment to partnering with existing organizations and  neighbors who have experience in working with food systems and who carry a similar vision for strong, healthy neighborhoods.

The Elkhart Local Food Alliance was born in 2008 when community members already involved in farming, market gardening, youth programs, public education, and working towards stronger communities through their churches and neighborhood organizations came together to address food security and sustainability issues, particularly as they pertain to the neighborhoods of South Central Elkhart. Many of these individuals carried a strong belief in the importance of bountiful, nutritious, local food being made accessible to people of all economic classes. As the formal economy in Elkhart County took a turn for the worse, it became exceedingly clear that we would need to look within our own immediate community for resources as many families struggled to survive. Historically, local, fresh, organic produce is highly priced, and sold in markets that are not readily accessible to people in lower-income neighborhoods. ELFA members are committed to an ethos of food justice, which entails that the cultivation of local, fresh, organic/pesticide-free produce is done in a way that makes it affordable and available to people from all classes and backgrounds without damage to the environment.
In the spring of 2009, ELFA members worked with a local farmer on the outskirts of Elkhart to plant several acres in vegetables. These vegetables were sold at a local farm stand and farmer's market, were donated to local food banks and churches, were shared with neighbors, and were used in food-preserving workshops. ELFA's plans for this coming growing season are shifting focus, moving towards an emphasis on participatory gardening, directly within our neighborhoods. Over the next several weeks, we will begin preparing the soil in 3 neighborhood gardening plots, readying for planting this spring. This shift towards an urban focus not only gives us greater opportunity to include more neighbors, but also allows us to run regular educational programs for children and youth, and workshop series for adults, while also facilitating more cooperation with other organisations in Elkhart.

ELFA facilitates a variety of programs, in collaboration with many neighbors and other local organisations. We are currently working with the Historic Roosevelt Neighborhood Association and tenants at the Roosevelt Center to begin a neighborhood garden on site. Two local churches, Prairie Street Mennonite Church (PSMC) and Fellowship of Hope Mennonite Church (FOH) have been supportive of ELFA endeavors. PSMC has given ELFA yard space surrounding Jubilee House (the voluntary service household, owned by PSMC) to install a neighborhood demonstration/teaching garden, based on permaculture design principles. In other words, this agricultural design will try to mimic relationships found in natural, local ecologies, which help increase yield and sustainability, while decreasing the need for human input. FOH has offered space for another community gardening plot on their property.
ELFA is collaborating with the Summer Academy program (an Arts and Culture program for neighborhood youth) at the Roosevelt Center, and with local 4-H leaders and staff to offer educational programs to youth and children, as well as with Michiana Master Gardeners and the Elkhart Environmental Center to provide workshops for people of all ages. These gardens and educational opportunities will seek to provide space for community members to come together, strengthening not only our food systems and physical health through nutritious produce, but also building stronger relationships within our communities, and, will cultivate a deeper knowledge and awareness of issues related to environmental stewardship and food production.
Along with education and gardening, the growth of food and the gathering together of neighbors cannot be done without celebration! ELFA also seeks to celebrate the strengths and assets of our neighborhoods by bringing people together for social events and community activities, as we celebrate planting, harvesting, or cooking food together.
Volunteerism is at the core of ELFA, as all of its members are volunteers. We believe that strong communities require the participation of many members, each bringing different assets to the table. Given the current high rate of unemployment in Elkhart, we have been experiencing even greater interest in volunteering in our programs from neighbors who have lots of time to invest in gardening and educational initiatives. More ownership and responsibility, and through this, more civic engagement at a local level, are created as individuals and communities give of their own time and diverse resources; this principle is foundational in the thriving of ELFA's vision.