Thursday, February 24, 2011

Congratulations Annie and child!

Annie and her daughter, both accomplished Urban Land Scouts, sent in this photo of a worm Annie thinks might have come from the Urban Land Scouts debut last April. Hooray for fat worms.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Level One Workshop

Poster for the first of ten upcoming Urban Land Scout workshops at CAC Beardsley Community Farm. Every Wednesday, from 5-7 pm for ten weeks beginning on March 23rd and ending May 25th. Come one, come all.

These images thanks to Rival Collective.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Keeping Up

Behold, a calendar of urban stewardship-related events in Knoxville. Please re-post and email generously to East Tennesseans and others. Email or comment with events, edits, etc.

Spring/Early Summer
2011 Urban Stewardship Events in Knoxville
This document is current as of Feb. 18, 2011
and will be updated as events are published.
Want to add or edit an event? Email

Sunday, Feb. 20th, 1-4 pm - Knoxville Birdhouse, 800 N. 4th Ave.
Onion Relish Workshop -
Learn to make and can your own delicious onion relish. Part of the ongoing series of seasonally-based canning classes at the Birdhouse, Preserving the Harvest. You must pre-register to take this class as space is limited. Cost $10-15 with barter option available. Contact for more information.

Saturday, Mar. 12 th, time 9-10 workshop, 10-12 working - CAC Beardsley Community Farm, 1719 Reynolds St. behind the Cansler Boys and Girls Center.
Volunteer Work Day -
Meet good folks and join CAC Beardsley Community Farm in tending to their urban demonstration farm in Mechanicsville. Today will begin with a vermicomposting (composting with worms) workshop and proceed to a workday at the farm. FREE!
Contact for more information.

Saturday, Mar. 12 th, time TBD - KBGA, 2743 Wimpole Avenue,
Volunteer Planting Day -
Help the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum plant and enjoy their beautiful site. Contact for more information.

Friday, March 25 th, time TBD - KBGA, 2743 Wimpole Avenue,
Walking Tour -
Guided tour with Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum garden manager, Brian Campbell. FREE!

Saturday, March 26th, 9-11 am - Pelissippi State Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road
Make Your Own Rain Barrel -  
Do you know there is more nitrogen in rainfall than in one application of fertilizer? Drought or no drought, we should all conserve water. Beth Willis, UT Gardens volunteer coordinator, will show you how to capture this precious resource in your own 55-gallon catch barrel. Each participant will make and design a rain barrel to take home. Please bring an appropriate vehicle to transport
it home. All materials included. $40/member, $45/nonmembers. Please call Emily Smith at 865-974-7151 or e-mail to register.

March 23 - May 25, Every Wednesday from 5-7 pm at CAC Beardsley Community Farm, 1719 Reynolds St. behind the Cansler Boys and Girls Center.
Urban Land Scout Workshops -
Learn urban stewardship. Each week we will talk about and work towards earning a different badge from the Urban Land Scouts. Topics will include things like observation, foraging, seed saving, and composting. Appropriate for anyone who can cross the street by themselves. Contact with questions. FREE.

 Saturday, April 16th, 10 am on - Pelissippi State Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road
Earth Fest -  A large event with many vendors, speakers, and family-friendly options. This year’s theme is “Green It & Mean it”. FREE.


Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., UT Gardens Knoxville 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996
Blooms Day - Unique garden goods and plants from local growers, live musical performances, garden workshops, children’s activities and more.  Admission is $6 and children 12 and under are free! More than 20 workshops will be offered for everyone, from novice to advanced gardeners, covering a variety of gardening topics.

Wednesday, May 18th, 5-7 pm, CAC Beardsley Community Farm, 1719 Reynolds St. behind the Cansler Boys and Girls Center.
Urban Land Scouts, Level 9 workshop: Composting with Worms - Come work with worm enthusiast, Shannon E. to talk about compost, worms, how to start a small worm compost bin. You can take home your very own 5-gallon bucket for vermicomposting. We will meet at CAC Beardsley Community Farm (behind the Cansler Boys and Girls Club) to work on practicing good stewardship and earning Urban Land Scout badges. There is no cost and we will meet no matter what the weather. Bring a water bottle and wear close-toed shoes and clothing appropriate for being outside.

Every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. May 19 through October 27, UT Gardens Knoxville 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996
Books and Blooms - Join the UT Gardens for nature-themed stories and activities. After story time, the kids can enjoy time under the sprinkler in warmer weather. FREE!

 Saturday, June 4th, 10 am - 2 pm  - CAC Beardsley Community Farm, 1719 Reynolds St. behind the Cansler Boys and Girls Center
Farm Fest - CAC Beardsley Community Farm celebrates the return of warm weather, flora, and fauna. Live music, food and craft vendors, farm tours, and plant sales. FREE!

Saturday, June 18th - Ijams Nature Center, 2915 Island Home Avenue
Ijams Fest - IjamsFest is a fundraising event featuring local musicians, artists, and food vendors all on their beautiful grounds. FREE!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


After seeing Once Upon a Time in Knoxville, a documentary about South Knoxvillian junk-visionary Rollo, my friends and I discussed some of the sweeping statements he made about the state of American culture and the future of the-lifestyles-to-which-we-have-become-accustomed. Rollo is an urban homesteader (on 7 acres in the city...which gives you insight into the kind of urban that we can enjoy in Knoxville) and like many farmers and homesteaders he is an inspired and inventive scavenger. At one point in the movie he makes a brief case arguing the need (and niche) for a scavenging class in the United States.

It is old news that we are incredible consumers with little appreciation for the bulk of disposable goods we enjoy. The planned obsolescence of our digital goods renders them almost as disposable as the plastic cutlery we pick up with our take out. Additionally, should you want to cling to your Android or iPhone well into its teens, there is no market for fixing or repairing the thing. Such repairs (or the cost of shipping your phone to the country in which it was made) would cost more than the object itself. Authors and designers William McDonough and Michael Braungart define this problem in their book Cradle to Cradle as a cradle-to-grave mentality. That is, we design products with the idea that they will be "born" out of raw materials, be consumed, and "die" in a landfill. A closed circuit with tremendous costs and wastes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

just ripe

just ripe is a worker-owned food cooperative that's been selling delicious and seasonal prepared food at the Knoxville Farmers' Market on Market Square for over a year now. They're about to take the big step of moving from charming-but-transient-gypsy-caravan to a brick and mortar store in the Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville. As you might imagine, this is an expensive project. In the same spirit that inspires their products and business model, just ripe has launched a Kick Starter campaign.

For the uninitiated, Kick Starter is a website that allows people with a vision (like the women at just ripe) to crowd source the funding for said vision. They've set a goal of $12,000 and have until Sunday, February 13th to raise the money. If they don't reach their goal by then, all pledged monies will be returned to the donors. If they do reach their goal Knoxville's food and culture scene will be so much the richer.

It is cliche but true to say that every bit helps.  Five or five hundred, the women at just ripe will be grateful for your help.

Saturday, February 5, 2011