Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of community food systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.
Allen has received a Ford Foundation leadership grant, the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, and a Kellogg Foundation grant to create jobs in urban agriculture.
There were many more gardening success stories, but Lamp'l's biggest laugh from the audience of gardeners came when he showed a slide of a young vermiculturalist. His T-shirt read, "I Got Worms." Vermiculture uses various species of worms to aid in the decomposition of food waste, the castings later used as compost in the garden.
"The average age of conventional farmers is pushing 60," Lamp'l said. The new wave of organic, urban, vertical and small farm owners is typically young and less tied to the old ways of gardening. They are much more aware of the environment.
"Landfills are the largest source of methane gas, and 65 percent of what's there doesn't need to be -- it can be composted, recycled. It has to happen," Lamp'l said.
Monrovia sent an email recently with a link to download its new catalog. It's 104 pages of beautiful plants, interesting stories and some predictions about what plants will be hot next year. While they are a wholesaler, many of their plants can be found in local garden centers.
Monrovia faced trying times last year during the economic downturn, and they have adjusted their plant mix to reflect market conditions by offering more easy-to-grow edibles and water-wise succulents, and they are offering an array of beautiful flowering shrubs that are co-branded with Proven Winners.
I love the Dan Hinkley Plant Collection from Monrovia -- it contains plants that are interesting but also reliable. There's the lovely hardy, deciduous shrub Chinese snow flower (Deutzia setchuenensis var. corymbiflora) and a red-leafed Mukdenia (Mukdenia rossii'Crimson Fans') that's just beautiful in the collection -- leaves emerge bright green and gradually change to bronze-green with touches of bright red.
There is a line of peonies named for Toichi Itoh, who was the first to successfully cross a tree peony with a garden peony. The hybrid that resulted features the colorful and exotic flowers of tree peonies with the perennial growing cycle of herbaceous peonies.
I'm hoping to find a Dwarf Bearss seedless lime (Citrus aurantifolia'Dwarf Bearss Seedless') somewhere in the future. The Monrovia catalog says it's a heavy bearer of juicy, lemon-sized fruit in winter to early spring. It grows into a rounded, densely branched, dwarf form and is an excellent container plant for indoors in cold areas like ours. It's evergreen and grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. I might have to prune it!
Founded in 1926, Monrovia is a leading grower of ornamental and edible plants, with more than 2,500 varieties. From its five eco-friendly nurseries in Visalia and Venice Hills, Calif., Dayton, Ore., LaGrange, N.C., and Cairo, Ga., Monrovia distributes its plants through independent garden centers and rewholesalers nationwide. The company remains a family-owned entity. Visit www.monrovia.com.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.