Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Taos, NM

We stopped in Taos without much of an agenda other than to check out the art community there and stay at the Abonimable SnowMansion Hostel because I had heard good things about it, including tipis, communal kitchen, hot showers, and... a community garden! We had a pretty long drive getting there from AZ and a long drive ahead of us to get to AK, so after arriving in the dark, we cooked a great dinner of fresh Prescott farmers market produce and hit the hay.

In the morning light we got to meet Moona, the lovely owner of the hostel who is an herbalist and keeps the garden there full of fresh food and healing herbs. We chatted about how wonderful it is to eat directly from the garden, to pick something and put it immediately in your mouth, and she expressed a belief that this act brings one to higher states of consciousness. She had feelings (that I share) about the importance of teaching younger generations about gardening and the nourishing and healing power of plants, that the passing on this knowledge is what keeps it alive and thriving.

We've been reading the book The Revolution will not be Microwaved, by Sandor Ellix Katz, in the car on our trip and there is a similar sentiment shared by Sandor, that the slow food movement is greatly important but will die out without stewards of the movement actually continuing food, family, and cultural traditions, like fermentation and food preservation. I wholly agree with that, and being an avid canner and fermenter myself, have been brainstorming ways to make sure I am actively propagating these skills and spreading them around.

The hostel garden was planted row style, like the Free Farm and like most of the gardens we are seeing, seemingly because it is a simple way to maximize food production with little resources (like materials to build raised beds). It was a bit smaller than the Free Farm, but as home style gardens go, was pretty huge. They also had some really nice 'bonus features' like a cob oven, some beautifully constructed scrap wood hoop style green houses, cold frames, and a water system that seemed like a greywater or rainwater collection system, but I couldn't quite figure out how it worked.

There have been amazing sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, all hot weather crops that I've been super jealous of because they're difficult to grow in abundance (if at all) in San Francisco. I've also been really loving the summer and winter squash, I love how big and pre-historic the plants look, and how you have to rummage through them to find the veggies underneath.

We also happened to run into a man named Keith wearing a "Comida No Bomba" t'shirt at a cafe about 20 feet down the road from the hostel. I got to chatting with him and it turns out he was one of the founders of Food Not Bombs. We had an interesting conversation about politics and free food distribution. Thanks for the mystical alignment, New Mexico!

Back to the car and off to Texas!

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