Dirt Doll

Dirt Doll is an urban farm business in Chicago run by
Audra Lewicki & Adrienne Detanico.

We are dedicated to growing good food and building healthy soil. Check out our photos and leave us a note.

Check out this photo series from our first volunteer day at the Dirt Doll farm plot!

The view looking west between beds 11 and 12.  Let’s check back in a few weeks, shall we?

The view looking west between beds 11 and 12.  Let’s check back in a few weeks, shall we?

dirtdoll:

Look at these bunnies!  I found them in the radishes last week.  Dirty hand for size reference - thanks to my buddy Adrienne.

Thought I’d bring it back to bunnies since it’s Easter.  ‘Cause that’s what Easter’s about, right?

For some perspective, less than a year ago, that dirty hand belonged to my “buddy, Adrienne”.  Adrienne is now co-owner of Dirt Doll, LLC.  Heck yeah!

The only greenhouse Dirt Doll has access to right now is pretty far away and would require a lot of extra driving.  The plants require daily care so we tried to figure out a way to make starting seeds a little simpler.   Sooo…Audra’s partner took an old portable clothes closet and turned it into a light cart, hanging the plywood shelves and lights with chain (shout-out to Bob!!!!!!!)  It’s rather large and the only room with enough space to house it is our dining room. 
But the cats became jealous that they couldn’t also play in the dirt and found rather creative ways onto the shelves to do just that.  So some cat-proofing was in order - that’s where the hardware cloth and old yard signs come in.
And now?  We have a fully functional and fortress-ed way to start our seeds at home.  And our plants get to join us while we host Easter dinner.

The only greenhouse Dirt Doll has access to right now is pretty far away and would require a lot of extra driving.  The plants require daily care so we tried to figure out a way to make starting seeds a little simpler.   Sooo…Audra’s partner took an old portable clothes closet and turned it into a light cart, hanging the plywood shelves and lights with chain (shout-out to Bob!!!!!!!)  It’s rather large and the only room with enough space to house it is our dining room. 

But the cats became jealous that they couldn’t also play in the dirt and found rather creative ways onto the shelves to do just that.  So some cat-proofing was in order - that’s where the hardware cloth and old yard signs come in.

And now?  We have a fully functional and fortress-ed way to start our seeds at home.  And our plants get to join us while we host Easter dinner.

Vidalia Onions: A Crop With an Image to Uphold

An interesting read on many levels.

Also notice the quote: “‘The housewife who buys the bad onion is not going to want any more,’ said Kevin Hendrix, who runs Hendrix Produce in nearby Metter and grows 850 acres of the onions.”

Ok, Don Draper.

How did the hipster burn his mouth?
He ate his pizza before it was cool.
BURN! 
Speaking of burn…notice how nearly all of Chicago’s evergreens look a little sad?  It’s most likely winter burn.  Check out this link for more about it.

How did the hipster burn his mouth?

He ate his pizza before it was cool.

BURN! 

Speaking of burn…notice how nearly all of Chicago’s evergreens look a little sad?  It’s most likely winter burn.  Check out this link for more about it.

And here it is!  This is the Dirt Doll farm plot.  Given the weather and late start, we’re still shaping beds.  I look forward to the day when this empty, uneven land is so full of life that these images are a distant memory.

What is that stinky cheese smell?  It’s the ginko fruit that didn’t fully decompose over the winter (I suspect due to the cold) that is now rotting in the bright sunshine and seventy-degree weather.  But even the fruit can’t get me down.  I still love that ginko tree and am happy at the warmer temperatures.  Woo hoo spring!!!

What is that stinky cheese smell?  It’s the ginko fruit that didn’t fully decompose over the winter (I suspect due to the cold) that is now rotting in the bright sunshine and seventy-degree weather.  But even the fruit can’t get me down.  I still love that ginko tree and am happy at the warmer temperatures.  Woo hoo spring!!!

I love spending time seeding.  Especially when I’m planting something that I’ve never planted before.  Like Hollyhock!  I’ve received contradictory instructions between Fedco and the seed packet, but I went ahead and started them indoors to be transplanted.  Call me crazy. Hollyhocks seeds also require stratifying and light to germinate.

Because they require light, you can’t cover the seed with soil.  Which means you get to actually watch them germinate!  Look at that root radical poking through and finding the soil!  Amazing.

Let’s get pumped!  It’s a beautiful day and time to bust some moves making garden beds and planting seeds.  As Kathleen says, “The hallway is in the rearview.”  It’s great to be working outside!

When do you think this tree will actually bloom?  Usually happens in late March.

When do you think this tree will actually bloom?  Usually happens in late March.

At What Cost? Food Hubs, Walmart, and Local Food – ASAP Connections

" For food hub proponents, food hubs “are the solution both to scaling up local food and ensuring its integrity.” The food hub approach aims to achieve volume through the aggregation of product from many small and mid-sized farms. Big retailers need large quantities of product, and they want to do business with a few, large suppliers. Local food, produced by smaller farms, can’t meet this need individually. The solution – pool production.

The problem with this line of reasoning is in the misunderstanding of how volume producers (and retailers) make money. It confuses scale with volume. Large producers specialize and spread out their fixed costs over large quantities of production – making profits of pennies on the pound but producing many, many pounds. Aggregating production from small producers cannot achieve the same result. Small volume producers can’t produce profitably on pennies per pound – they just don’t produce enough pounds. So food hubs might, by aggregating, achieve volume, but they rarely achieve scale. Food hubs need to pay their smaller scale producers more, particularly food hubs with environmental or social justice goals, but they still must compete in markets where price is determined by large scale production.”