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Farmer of the Week: David Rosenstein

by on March 18, 2013

 

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David’s first job out of college was driving produce trucks to and from Southern California farms.  He was hauling tomatoes and experienced first hand conventional agriculture and what it means environmentally and in the human rights arena. He said it was shocking.  He decided he wanted to make a change.  After working on documentaries about designing healthy communities for PBS, he had his “aha” moment. In his research for the documentary, he  discovered truths about our food system and our farming situation and this is when he had his “aha” moment. This is when he decided to make a change.  He began researching the best farming methods and determined aquaponics was the method he wanted to practice.

NUMBER OF YEARS URBAN GARDENING:
2

FAVORITE THINGS TO GROW:
Leeks and Celery (cause they look so cool)

URBAN FARMING LOCATION:
Mar Vista, California

GARDENING ADVICE:
Start small because aquaponics has a steep learning curve, you want it to be manageable.

YOUR OWN GARDENING TIPS AND TRICKS:
Grow as many beneficial edible flowers as you can around the perimeter of your property.

WHY DID YOU FIRST START GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD?
2 years ago.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO PREPARE OUT OF THE GARDEN?
Ginger Shallot Stirfry with Bok Choy. (Click here for recipe)

WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO GARDEN (OR HOW DID YOU LEARN)?
Self-taught and still learning.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BEGINNER GARDENERS?
Start with radishes cause they’re so easy to grow, guaranteed success. Daikon radishes are good at tilling the soil for you.  Black radish for ahealthy digestive tract.  Just start a garden.

HOW MANY HOURS PER WEEK DO YOU SPEND IN THE GARDEN?
1.5 hours.

HOW MANY MINUTES PER DAY?
5 minutes.

HOW MUCH SPACE ARE YOU USING TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD (IN SQUARE FEET)?
My farm is 500 square feet.

DO YOU USE RAISED BEDS, CONTAINERS, THE GROUND OR A COMBINATION OF SOME?
I have mostly aquaponic systems and about 30 square feet of raised beds and in-ground beds.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE GARDEN?
Powdery mildew and the cabbage moth – We do not use any organic pesticides in aquaponics. Only natural beneficials (ladybugs for aphids for example) or for powdery mildew, we use compost tea.

WHAT ARE YOU GROWING RIGHT NOW?
Celery, leeks, mustard greens, a few varieties of lettuce, watercress, sage, tomatoes, parsley, basil, chives, chard, bok choy, red choy, mint, peppermint, and lemon balm.

HOW HAS GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD AFFECTED OR CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
It has been awakening to what food is supposed to taste like.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT´S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE GROW THEIR OWN FOOD?
Because it’s a way to be free, it’s a form of freedom. And also, I think that we are in a food crisis that no one is talking about enough. Knowing how to grow food should be a pre-requisite to graduate from high school and college.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVORITE THING ABOUT GARDENING?
I love water and I work with water by growing food, a re-connection to water. It’s very soothing.

OTHER THOUGHTS OR COMMENTS?
To quote Ron Finley, “Grow some shit.”

About the Author:
Carol Carimi Acutt

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