4 March 12
Back in September we went on Yolo Audubon Society’s fall field trip to Point Reyes. Riding with us was a postdoc from Chile who told Pica that she was involved with a fiber collective, mostly UC Davis students, who were interested in spinning, weaving, and dyeing and had ongoing plans to start a fiber garden. Somewhere along the way, this group had met up with a woman named Robyn Waxman, who several years ago during her studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco had a thesis project where she created a community garden on an abandoned plot of land near the college. She had since started community gardens near City College in Sacramento where she teaches and one on K Street in Davis. Last summer, she and her husband bought a house with 2.6 acres of land about 6 miles of Davis with the plan of turning this into a community farm, dubbed FARM 2.6.
The fiber collective saw this as their chance to start their garden and plant flax, indigo, and so on and began to plan for the farm’s first workday, held in the middle of February. I went to one of their planning meetings, toured the plot of ground, and somehow had the idea of putting in a grainfield. (Now that I’ve been doing some baking again, there’s quite a fantasy of baking bread from wheat I grew myself). The workday was well-advertised and quite a success. The fiber garden got started, about 50 fruit trees were planted to form a food forest, and irrigation pipes were put in. Two big patches had been tilled earlier with a tractor, one for the orchard, one for the grainfield. For the grainfield I decided that I’d put in a cover crop of red clover for now, and plant some portion of it in wheat in the fall, so I did that a couple weeks ago at the subsequent work day. At left and above is a picture of the grainfield plot. It’s huge — about a quarter of an acre. Watering it turns out to be a challenge: we need to come up with a better system than a single high-efficiency sprinkler. At right is the fiber garden, starting to take spiral shape.