When it comes to high-quality, locally grown produce, indie restaurants, CSA members and health-conscious farmer's market shoppers have been saying "Vaya con Maya" for nearly a decade. But these days, farmer Maya Dailey -- who cultivates two acres at The Farm at South Mountain and another five acres just down the road -- doesn't simply follow organic practices, she has earned certified organic status.
And to celebrate that three-year process, she's hosting a gardening/farming workshop and throwing a potluck party on her five-acre property (6550 S. 32nd Street) on Sunday, January 27. Here are the juicy details:
The day's first order of business will be a workshop on how to attract native pollinators, conducted by agricultural ecologist, ethnobotanist and writer Gary Nabhan and Caleb Weaver (UA senior and founder of Garden in the Desert). This event, held from 1-4 p.m., will include a short presentation followed by a hands-on activity -- namely, planting a hedgerow. If you're interested bring pen and paper, a hat, gardening gloves, a water bottle and $10 to participate. Register by emailing Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you're interested, don't hesitate. The number of attendees is capped at 18.
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As soon as the workshop ends, Part Two of the day's festivities begins: a community potluck to which everyone is invited (4-6 p.m.). Just bring yourself and something good to eat (your dish is your ticket). Maya hopes to see CSA members, farmer's market customers, chefs and her other friends-in-food. There's no limit to how many show up, so come one, come all.
RSVP on Maya's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/428239573914804/
By the way, Dailey tells me that becoming organically certified isn't expensive (around $650), but the process is a pain in the butt for most farmers who'd rather be digging in the dirt than keeping records. What it requires, she says, is organization and putting systems into place. Farmers aiming for organic status must keep meticulous planting, harvesting and input records (the latter involves soil testing), which, she swears, is time-consuming but totally worth it.