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427. Cultivating Connections | Homestead Organics | Laura Garber | Hamilton, MT
19th September 2022 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:56:00

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True Leaf Market is offering a discount code for listeners to get 15% off cover crop seeds: GOG15. (See disclosures below)

Where the food is the by-product and the product is the relationship and learning that students get from working on the farm and growing lettuce and you get to eat the lettuce that is grown. So cultivating connections is basically the farm classroom and people can be on the farm and interact with animals through a seasonal way. 

Salads for Seniors

High schoolers who are hired as interns to learn how to be engaged in the kitchen by growing the lettuce, harvesting it, bringing it into the kitchen to clean it, make the salads that are delivered to meals on wheels.


Tricky for non-profits. If Laura had her way there would be non-profits, for profits and community profits. Now they raise money through grants, weekly CSA shares, and other fundraising projects. 

CSA shares support upcoming farmers. $500 goes to help create a future for everyone.

Where do high schoolers come from? Local or are there places to stay?

Youth farm internships are focused on local high schoolers. Also have adult interns who come from all over and stay on farm but wanted to focus more on local students.

First garden experience. Grew up outside of Butte?

Remembers a 2nd grade classmate brought a queen bee and was fascinated with rural life. Mom had a small garden full of tomatoes and raspberries. First thing remembered planting was pine trees around her house in town. Went to UMT and was in first year of PEAS program.

Next summer started managing one of the community gardens and that was her first foray into growing 10 zucchinis instead of 1 and first experience into working with youth. Took 10 plots to grow for Food Bank. How to engage young people in a way that is meaningful for everyone.

Do you want to tell us about social presencing theater and what's social presencing soil?

Ways to engage people. The presencing institute was created by Arawana Hayashi.

What grew well this year?

Community - food and farming are the universal connector. At the farmer's market two people who would usually never talk to each other standing talking about spinach and how they prepared it last week. 

What literally grew well last year was the kale. Grows well in all kinds of weather. So good for you. Hope people can grow kale. Also a good community builder and people have their assumptions about kale and so they get people talking to each other.

JackieMarie - 2 things, I got to go to the Missoula market, 2xs last year and it was so peaceful talking to the vendors, standing in line getting coffee, exactly talking talking to compost guy and the pepper guy and the vendors so smiling.

2nd - my kale was awful last year. I actually put row cover and forgot 2xs and it was worse than ever. 

Kale is a really good indicator species for us. We had tons of aphids last year and the year before. Kale is a really good indicator of stress in the environment. Row cover is a great way to protect it. A great way to stay ahead of kale is to have multiple crops. Maybe every 3 weeks planting kale in different places. For a family of 4 you could get buy with just 4 plants. If you can transplant a few plants in April and then late May, and June. Pull the bugs off the ones that are infested. Also if you can enjoy on off season. Plant in late summer. 5 leaf stage is going to overwinter. In spring it's a biennial and want to go to seed in second year. Kale flowers just before they open looks like broccolini and so delicious thing you've ever eaten and all the amazing colors that come into kale floras are stunning. And to get to eat something pink in spring is amazing. 

So suggest plant in late fall so in spring it is ready and row cover if possible. 

What JackieMarie loves to do with kale is freeze it for winter. I feel like eating the last of the frozen beet greens from last year are piping nutrients flowing through my veins. I have made multiple bouquets from kale flowers with the irises so I'll have to try eating them.

Not keep trying the things I know isn't going to work. Okra doesn't grow well in Montana without a lot of effort. Where Cardoon a tender perennial which is related to artichokes, and need to be boiled in water and then you dump the water out and then boil again and it's like artichokes. If you do let it go to flower, that looks like an artichoke thistle that is really attractive to everyone, you can still eat the stalks it's just delicious. 

It's just Fun and real food!

 If you leave it in the winter it's a great oil seed for birds which you are attracting in winter when they really leave need food. It's something fun and exciting for growing in the north. 

Engage your farmer brain

We grow a lot of things for seed as well. It's easy to grow seeds. I recommend it for everyone. Engages a part of farmer brain. Like growing lettuce and letting it go to seed for next year. Something that didn't go so well this year was nasturtium. Great flowers to eat peppery flavor. Didn't have a long enough season to get nasturtium seeds.

Recommend everyone grow one thing for seed.

Pick the most beautiful one and don't pick it and you will get seed for next year. More than one plant to get diversity. Just try it! 


Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land

Getting to the Root of Things

 Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?

Thinning carrots.

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?


I agree I love transplanting it's like instant garden, whereas I have no patience for carrots to germinate.

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?


Look at how amazing that plant is or this plant needs water or needs this and that. Co-creating with nature

Can understand what your garden wants.

Is there a favorite tool that you like to use?

hula hoe or stirrup hoe - cultivate your soil and soul

A favorite recipe you like to cook or eat from the garden?

anything that contains garlic. Kale salad - crushed garlic, lemon juice, hot pepper flakes, massage it together and let it sit so it's not quite as tough. Green beans so delicious when you eat them fresh but change into something delicious when you cook them. 

JackieMarie says my students always like Dragon Tongue purple striped beans.

Someone asked about peeling garlic when you plant it?

No and you want to plant it a thumb's depth.

Can you plant onions now? Yes, should be seeding now (Mid March 2022) Garlic needs chill period over winter. You can plant now but you will probably be disappointed. You can put in freezer - needs to be really protected so it doesn't freeze to get cold stratification or in the refrigerator.

A favorite internet resource?

not really a surfer

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

Anything from the presencing institute.

Perelandra Garden Workbook- A Complete Guide to Gardening with Nature Intelligences

Perelandra Garden Workbook: A Complete Guide to Gardening with Nature Intelligences

Final question- if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

Glyphosate must go now. Gardeners need to connect and share more knowledge - reconnecting farmers to each other.


Global Farmers Assembly

Use food as the way we connect with each other again.


Hamilton Farmer's Market is one of the best farmer's markets in Montana.

How do we connect with you?

Screen Shot 2022-03-18 at 12.07.31 PM


Get True Leaf Market's Cover Crop Growing Guide a pdf just download on their website. 

True Leaf Market is wanting to sponsor the GREEN Organic Garden Podcast and is giving a discount code for listeners to get 15% off cover crop seeds: GOG15.

  • These codes all have the following characteristics:
  • 15% off cover crop products. i.e. orders for other items besides our cover crops won’t receive a discount.
  • Expires end of December • 2022
  • Limit one use per customer.

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