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|Host: Sheri Frey
|Time: Sundays 11:00 am - Noon Central Time
|Call In Number: 1-877-300-7645
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Our Next Show: Sunday February 1, 2015
Guest: Debra Graff | Square Foot Abundance
I grew up north of Buffalo, near the Canadian border, and became interested in gardening as a teenager. I had a grandfather with a large garden, with both flowers and vegetables. He used composted manure tea to grow incredible plants.
There were no degree programs in organic agriculture available in 1980, so I created and completed an Associate's degree on that topic through an independent study program with Empire State College, a State University of New York. One of my papers was on harvesting fresh greens year-round in a cold climate – a concept that didn't become well-known in the U.S. until Eliot Coleman first wrote his book "Four Season Harvest" in the 1990's.
I've had a garden nearly every year since then, for over 30 years, mostly in Virginia. I focused on growing food in small raised beds, but I also grew flowers for beneficial insects, birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. For the first 20 years, I lived in rentals and I moved frequently, so I have a lot of experience in starting organic gardens from scratch, and in growing a lot of food in small spaces.
When I was finally able to buy land of my own, I designed and built my own passive solar home, cut my own firewood, went dancing every week, walked my dog daily, built ¼ mile of livestock fencing, and started growing a garden where I could harvest fresh food 12 months a year.
I became a Master Gardener, and helped train new Master Gardeners about vegetable gardening. I also provided continuing education programs about year-round vegetable gardening, attracting beneficial insects, and more. I also taught organic gardening at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke, Virginia.
In 2009, I developed a serious autoimmune disease that has done a lot of damage to my body. I now have to deal with disabilities that makes gardening and most other daily activities much more difficult for me. But by changing to a Paleo diet and eating 10-12 servings a day of fruits and vegetables – mostly from my own garden – I have been able to stop taking all immune-suppressant medications. And, as long as I limit my activities, I no longer have to take any pain medications. There is no cure for autoimmune diseases. I still have to deal with pain every day, and periodic minor flare-ups of the disease. Focusing on eating fresh organic food is now critical to my health, so I take growing my own food very seriously.
About the Host:
Since 1979 Sheri has been co-owner and vice president of ARBICO Organics. ARBICO Organics produces and markets organic and natural products for home, business, garden, lawn, farm and pets. Products include beneficial insects and organisms, fertilizers and soil amendments, weed and disease controls, composting supplies, insecticides, critter controls, horse care, traps, lures, pheromones, botanicals and more.
Sheri is on the committee for the Organic Certification of Growers of Arizona. Her memberships and associations include and are not limited to OFPANA (Organic Farm Producers of North America), the ANBP (Association of Natural Bio-control Producers), the ANA (Arizona Nursery Association), the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers Association), BIRC (Bio-Integral Resource Center), The IOBC (International Organization of Biological Control), and the AAIE (Association of Applied Insect Ecologists), and OMRI (Organic Materials Research Institute).
She works with major universities and their cooperative extensions and researchers. Speeches are made on a nationwide and international basis. She has been asked to speak at major conferences covering the topics of Biological Control, Low Input Sustainable Agriculture, Integrated Pest Management, Impact of Agriculture on the Environment, Eco System Pest Management and more. Her publications include press releases, catalogs, guides for organic agriculture, and handbooks.
ARBICO Organics specializes in Low Input Sustainable Agricultural Techniques (LISA) emphasizing organic farming inputs, bio-intensive pest controls, pro-environmental fertilizers and plant foods, composting, weed and disease control, as well as preventive management.
For over 33 years ARBICO Organics has provided professional consulting and technical assistance worldwide. As an industry leader in the implementation of sustainable and organic agricultural programs, ARBICO Organics offers natural solutions to contemporary agricultural needs. ARBICO Organics provides the way to grow lush landscapes and healthful food within the balance of nature without the use of synthetic chemicals.
When the proper nutrients and minerals are made available to the soil, it will provide the food that gives life to the plant and ultimately to us.