Monday, January 25, 2010

I am ashamed. Almost a week went by since my last entry. I have been busy!! My sitter was off for most of the week last week and then when she returned I had to fit a week's worth of work into two days.......and my shoulder is killing me! I haven't mentioned it before, but I have a pinched nerve in my back at my shoulders and it is causing me a GREAT deal of pain. My frustration is that it limits me. It is driving me insane I can't be out there moving stuff around. I sit and stare through my sliding glass doors and wonder how I am going to get this project off the ground when I can't even tend to my own yard and garden. It has been raining all week so my level of excitement has been dampened. Even though I am injured, I push through. Which that in itself isn't good because then you don't heal. Oh well, what am I supposed to do? Sit around and whine while people are hungry? I think not. Not much keeps me down.

So there are a TON of updates!!! I met with Ken, the practicum advisor, and my project is approved!!! Have some finishing touches to do on the paperwork and that is finished and I can move on! The little stuff is what takes me FOREVER to do ; ) Then I met with Rob, who has experience opening a non-profit. This meeting was by far the most encouraging!!! We reviewed everything and I am right on target! In fact he was so impressed with what I have done so far that he wants help with the techie side of things! That meeting had me on cloud 9!! Really tough part is only my federal tax exemption. I have a lot of "busy" paperwork to draft up! Five River (where I am taking the master gardening course) likes my idea as well for the donation garden and talked about a pilot program possibility!!!! YIPPIE!!! All these things are coming together!!!!! And tomorrow I have a meeting with a church who wants to set up a donation garden on their property and turned the project into a "chain of gardens" through out the faith based community!!!!

This is all so exciting! I have ordered my greenhouse and it should be here soon. I have mapped out my garden and ready for spring! The weekend of February 12-14th me and the kiddos are going to the OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association) conference! I am sooooo excited about that! Kolby even gets to take the workshops with me! I have really turned into a garden geek!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More gardens!!!!

I have not been good at maintaining the daily entry ; ) I will work on that! Good news over the weekend! I have two churches that are interested in gardens. I have yet to work out the details with them, but that is really exciting! My chiropractor has also started to spread the word! Not sure if I mentioned this in a prior blog, but he has offered to volunteer and also volunteered necessary farming equipment as well!!! Amazing how some people just want to help!

I am waiting to hear back from Five River. I sent an email to the teacher of my class asking about the donation garden also being part of my class project that I have to complete as well! That would be so cool if all these projects can come together not only to complete my project, but to feed people!! I have more places on my list to contact. I am hoping for gardens all over Dayton! Every church, every parking lot converted to food production!

I am not good at waiting. While I wait, I tend to put too much on my plate. I like to keep busy so I keep adding stuff........when I am about to topple over with stuff to do is when I will hear back from all these emails...haha! That is ok! Seriously! If I could stay busy from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed tending to gardens I would be happy!! I need to stay organized and stay on a schedule. Give every garden at least one day a week. Doing all this while maintaining my own garden will be the challenge.

I am so grateful I am only going part time to school! Only four more classes though! YIPPIE!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So Much To Do!

I have so much to do! My sitter is gone for a week starting tomorrow so I have been getting all my running and such done before she leaves. I can have the next week sitting at my computer working on business stuff. Really, I am sitting waiting to hear back from people. I have a couple emails out about fiscal sponsorships. If not my backyard become my "pilot project"!

This coming week my goals are to write a newsletter, get more people to follow the blog or facebook, find a place to have a gathering (and later on a seed swap)........I would like to tentatively set up a meeting in three weeks and then have one monthly until April. I need to contact someone at school and see if I can use one of their spaces to gather people!! Shouldn't be a problem. I would also like to have my 501 (c) 3 paperwork finished by the end of next week. I need to meet up with Rob on that.....probably should email him when I am done with this post ; )

I can see the gardens! I have beautiful visions of them as a matter of fact. I know this will happen. My patience of the timeliness of it all is what will be tested! I would love to snap my fingers and have food everywhere! I see a garden everywhere I see a vacant lot! And thanks to Bobby Wilson, president of the American Community Garden Association, I see gardens in barrels where dirt is non-existent! Gardens Gardens Gardens!

I have my first Master Gardener class tonight! I am looking forward to that. I have to put in 50 volunteer hours with the parks and I want to do with the Grow With Your Neighbors program. They said too in the interview for the class that most people end up with employment within the parks or city after they finish the class. We shall see! Should would be fun to make all my donation gardens through the parks and rec. and leave all the business stuff to them, while earning a paycheck and benefits! Haha!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

letting out a little bit of helium

I talked to my advisor yesterday and she had to let out a bit of my helium for me.......get my head out of the clouds. I knew she would have to. I am the dreamer, it goes with my sign (Pisces). Anyhow, she suggested for the time being work under another non-profit until I get all my stuff filed and approved. She said the exempt status alone takes almost six months and I really can't collect grants and donations until I have that. She said to look for what is called a "fiscal sponsor". I had come across that in my research and it does sound like a good idea. She said it will give me a track record so when I am a legit non-profit donors will be more likely to hand over money!

I have a couple idea of how I work under fiscal sponsorship so really I am not THAT disappointed. In fact, going that route gets the project under way faster and that is what she kept hearing me talk about.......the actual garden. Near the end of the conversation she did bring up to have a Plan B. Throwing idea out, I already have one!!! WHOO HOO! She said a pilot project could also work to build a track record if I couldn't find a fiscal sponsor. Well guess where I can set up a pilot project?!?!?!?! MY OWN BACKYARD!!!!!!!!!

Ideas went running through my head!!! I could have the girls come here or I can use Feral Farms (my vending business) and "sell" only to WIC recipients!!!! My mind went a hundred miles an hour after I got over being pulled down from the clouds (it only took a couple hours). My babysitter is leaving for a week starting on Friday so not many meet ups scheduled. I am going to spend this week doing more research, working on gathering more volunteers, planning my own garden, and planning another "pilot plot" and finding a place to build that! *Also need some fundraising ideas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

coming along

So things are slowly but surely coming together on this project. It would be nice if I could snap my fingers and it all be done!! Today I have a phone conference with my advisor. She was a CPA in her "past life" and has lots of experience with non-profits. YEAH! I knew this all just seemed too easy! I am sure I will have plenty to do after my phone call with her!

Yesterday on the facebook fan page a good conversation started about WIC. It is sad to say that WIC is the most successfully run government funded program. That is really saying something. If you have ever been on WIC you know what I am saying. First of all it takes almost three months to get an appointment. Then you get your appointment and sit and wait for almost two hours in the lobby before you are even seen.

The big complaint I hear is WIC does not allow organics. The main reason for that according to WIC is cost. My undergrad thesis proves that wrong. I am in the process of trying to have my paper published and once my non-profit is recognized, I am on my way to congress! I will post the paper somewhere later. It is a lengthy paper and I am not sure where to post it. Organics would not only save the programs millions of dollars a year in cost alone, but would also save millions in health care cost.

I feel this blog is weak today. It has been awhile since I have been on the political side of something. I have spent the last year and a half in theory classes waiting for this class. I feel a bit rusty on my soapbox, but I am sure I will find my way back! Just like riding a bike, right?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Three is the magic number!!!

Yes it is! No more, no less! Haha! That's for all you school house rockers or fans of De La Soul! Great news!!! I found my third board member. Actually, I really should say she found me! A woman I am in school with, who I look very highly to, emailed me and volunteered for the third position, telling me SHE would be honored. I would be honored!!!! I am so excited! She is a wealth of business and organizational knowledge and has a pretty good sized "mini farm" herself! I am so excited to get this started!

So that makes my best friend Joy, Bill Marvin, and Barbara Cowley-Durst! Bill is a professor of mine that never gave up on me! He is a walking encyclopedia! I am beyond honored at these amazing people who want to serve on MY board of directors!!!! I have an email out to another wonderful soul, Stephanie! She would radiate energy and creativity to the extreme! She did just start a new job, but it would go beautifully with what she is doing! I really hope to hear from her!!

I haven't heard anything final on my proposal. I did just turn it in yesterday. I tend to write up in the clouds when I write stuff like that! I like to paint dreams with words and sometimes people miss the point because it is not laid out 1.2.3. When I am passionate about something I try to make everyone I talk to either see the visions in the brilliant colors with me or at least feel the passion when I am talking about it. The latter is not hard! I am Italian , loud and animated! When I have said the word AMAZING you know I am on fire!!!! Ok, I went off on a tangent. I am just really excited this is starting to happen. Since I started my Masters I fought having to do papers on past conflicts. I wanted action, not reflection! I now see why the reflection is much needed, but how grateful I am that I am now IN ACTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to shine this quarter! I am going to renew faith in professors that might have lost it during some of my "outbursts"~

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fans Fans and more fans!!!!

What a way to start something! My goal yesterday was 100 fans on facebook and was able to shut the computer off at 8pm with 103 fans. While I was sleeping they multiplied! I am at 138 now! How exciting! That gives me such motivation!!!

Today is the official start of classes. I have waited for this class for a year and a half! This one and my thesis! I have been dying to do some action work instead of bookwork!!!! I was honestly starting to feel a bit like Don Quixote and hunger was my imaginary windmills!!!!!

I officially have one grant (a small one), already been offered seed donations and now I am finishing up the paperwork !!! Next it is convincing WIC to let me build a garden!!! I don't foresee any problems since there are successful WIC gardens all over the US! But you never now with government funded programs!! Bit of side info~ WIC is THE MOST SUCCESSFUL government funded program out there! That is so sad if you knew how WIC worked. Sad to think they are the best. Can only imagine what the other programs are run like. Well, I can tell you how welfare in general runs, but that is for another post! I could go on for days about welfare!

This is exciting! Not only am I working hard on a school project but I am actually building my career out of this! That is more exciting than words can describe! Speaking of which, I must get back to work!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here we go

Tomorrow is the official start of winter quarter. Four more classes and onto my thesis! I will be the first Graf to have a Masters. I look forward to giving my dad bragging rights! Not only is tomorrow my official start of class, but also my practicum! Wookiye Gardens will hopefully come to life! I am currently working on my 510 (c) 3 status (non-profit tax exempt) , gathering my board of directors and hammering out my articles of incorporation. I am already miles ahead my projected goals for the class.

So what is Wookiye Gardens? First of all, Wookiye is peaceful in Lakota. It is also the one word I was so sad my daughter out grew; instead of monkeys they were wookies! When I came across the word it seemed only perfect! My initial goal is to set up a community garden attached to the local WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) office. I am torn between the county I live in, Greene, and the county next to me, Montgomery. The only thing I can honestly say about that is I get enough money in grants to provide both!

After many email exchanges with my advisor we have also decided to skip the graduate seminar course and do a capstone project. A capstone is an "action" thesis. I am lucky too because they no longer offer a capstone as an option; I was grandfathered in. I get to graduate with honors now! YES! More bragging rights for my dad! So anyways, my capstone is to expand the garden into a community center and eventually being some sort of halfway house for single mothers. But first, the community center. Here is where the tearing between the two counties comes in. There is a property in Beavercreek that is AMAZING, but is being held in federal court with no pending end. The other property is in Huber Heights and is an old VFW of sorts. It would be PERFECT!! And it is even next to low income housing. This property is REALLY SCREAMING at me! So there we go, my capstone project.

So this is my adventure. I hope you enjoy the ride! I write like I think, very sporadic and spontaneous and without much boundary.