of Chester County, PA


Things we have learned in recent meetings

Nov 2014 Program:
Permaculture Garden Tour

Thanks to Mike McGrory for organizing both the permaculture program last March and the garden tour in November at Dale Hendricks' house. We had a great turnout - about 20 people - for the walk around Dale's property which is filled with small gardens, from seadlings to mature plants, a greenhouse and an outdoor kitchen and bio-char station.

Please see the links below for the follow up documents from Dale's event.

May 2014 Program:

A great presentation by Annemarie Cantrel on the science, psuedo-science, lack of transparency and regulation and credible testing, conflicting test results, reluctance to label, farmers fear of going against industry sead giants and local legislation that takes some small steps to inform the public about what we are buying and eating.

Annemarie has graciously offered to share her presentation with us. Download it here.

March 2014 Program:
Sustainable Suburban Gardening

Melissa Miles and Tom McGlynn

On March 6th we hosted a timely presentation on the topic of sustainable gardening led by Permaculture designers Melissa Miles and Tom McGlynn. Tom and Melissa provided a background on permaculture gardening and demonstrated that if we employ design principles modeled after nature, we can increase our garden's yield while greatly reducing maintenance. Specific topics covered were building swales, managing weeds (e.g. If you can't beat it, eat it!), guilds, and perrenial vegetables. We even learned practical ways to prevent deer ticks (building a woodchip barrier, attracting their natural predators).

The presentation was enjoyed by 30+ gardeners of all experience levels, and great connections were made. Please see below for a copy of the presentation and a handout with some very useful info. The club will be hosting a follow up event in August for a tour of a mature Permaculture garden. Be on the look out!

Permaculture Presentation, Mar 6, 2014

Melissa Miles
Two Miles Micro-Farm
Eastern PA Permaculture Guild)

Tom McGlynn
Feed the Burbs

Book Report - Walking To Listen - podcast

This is the first in what hopefully will be many reviews and recommendations of books, films, audio books or podcasts that our members have "read" and would like to share their experience - good or bad.

"Walk To Listen" is a audio podcast documentary about and by a young man who, after graduating from college, had a crisis of purpose - what should he do with the rest of his life?

To help find the answer, Andrew Forsthoefe decided to walk across the country. 4000 miles, with a backpack and a tape recorder (ok, probably his smart phone) and listen to the stories of the people that he met. And he met a lot of people. A fascinating story and stories within the story.

Jim summarized the podcast at our Feb meeting, and played some excerpts and handed out free copies for anyone that would like to listen to this 50 minute walk-a-log.

Community Supported Agriculture

Our April meeting was about CSAs - Community Supported Agriculture. Randell Spackman, from Thornbury Farm and CSA spoke about the history of his farm and how CSAs work in general.

Dan Cellucci talked about the community garden he has helped to build at the Melton Community Center and how his organic restaraunt, Roots Cafe in West Chester, uses foods from the garden as well as the Thornbury CSA, and contributes to the composting system.

Bring your questions about CSAs, community gardens and food scrap composting.

Native Plants of the Northeast

Guest speaker Claudia West from North Creek Nurseries educated the group at our March, 2013 meeting about gardening with native plants and tips for having a successful garden.

The resources Claudia recommended are:

  • NatureServe Explorer Website
  • Plant Communities of Pennsylvania - pdf a DCNR publication
  • Bringing Nature Home - By Douglas W. Tallamy, Foreword by Rick Darke - Timber Press
  • Invasive Plants - by Sylvan Ramsey Kaufman - Amazon
  • Native Plants of the Northeast - by Donald J. Leopold - Amazon
  • Shenk's Ferry Wildflower Preserve - brochure

Forward On Climate - Rally in DC

45 thousand of Americans gathered on February 18, 2013 in Washington, D.C. to make Forward on Climate the largest climate rally in history. Include about 500 people from the Philly area and local Sierra Club volunteers. Despite the cold and wind, we joined together to voice as one our opposition to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and demand action to combat climate change and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Guest speaker Steve Saffier Director of Audubon @ Home gave a great presentation at our December, 2012 meeting about the Great Backyard Bird Count. Stay tuned for more info as the date for the nationwide count gets closer.

Steve recommended these books and resources during his talk: