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Green Gal is an organic bakergardener, educator & consultant with a mission to support initiatives connecting people to place, nature, community, and self. Cultivating change through storytelling since 2009.
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Recent posts

Protect Backyard Beekeeping in Nevada: Oppose SB389

Nevada Residents: On March 21st, the state legislature introduced SB389, a bill that will - if passed - make it ILLEGAL to keep backyard bees in urban and suburban areas.

Honeybees pollinate our local food crops--those grown on farms as well as in our backyard gardens.

We need more honeybees, not fewer. Honeybees are not like wasps or yellowjackets--they don't harm humans unless provoked.

If you live in Nevada, please submit your comments in opposition to SB389 here, and add your name to the petition organized by the Northern Nevada Beekeepers Association

Link for public comment: 

Sign Petition by Northern Nevada Beekeepers Association:

Here's what I wrote as my petition comment:

We need more people raising honeybees so that urban and suburban folks who are growing their own food or growing food to sell in their community can have an ample supply of honeybees to pollinate their crops. Honey bees are n…

Talking Biomimicry with Lily Urmann of Arizona State University’s Biomimicry Center [2019 Video Interview]

This morning I had the pleasure of interviewing Lily Urmann, my dear friend and fellow UCSC sustainabilibuddy graduate. We spoke about one of her favorite favorite subjects: Biomimicry.

The Biomimicry Institute describes biomimicry as "an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul. The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival."

Lily is fully immersed in the study and development of programs related to biomimicry at Arizona State University. The work of the Biomimicry Center at ASU is at the forefront of biomimicry education, and…

2018 Garden Harvest Report & Reflections

Nine months ago, I harvested my first vegetables from Green Gal's Garden. That initial harvest on May 20 consisted of nine heads of bok choy. Although the harvest that day was small and too early for my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, it was a momentous occasion.

Planting the bok choy transplants 

Momentous because, with a little bit of my help, some living beings had rooted themselves in the garden soil and gathered sunlight and nutrients and grown from tiny seeds in my small greenhouse to edible vegetables. The miracle of seeds growing into plants has been happening for a really long time on this planet, but observing and supporting this process continues to be magical and profound. The process of photosynthesis is intimately tied to the lives of every human on earth.

Bok choy seedlings in the greenhouse

Nine months later, I look back on all of the vegetables and herbs that I harvested in the garden from May 20 until November 8, 2018, and I am in awe. It's rem…

Tour of River School Farm in Reno, NV

Colorful chickens, roosters, and two curious goats make up the welcome party that greets visitors to River School Farm in Reno, Nevada. I had the pleasure of meeting these farm animals, as well as Farmer Tom, during a first Friday farm tour on February 1, 2019. It was my first behind-the-scenes introduction to Reno farming, and it left me feeling hopeful and inspired to get involved with the local food system and begin growing my own food here in the high desert.

The River School Farm is nestled between the Truckee River and a business park west of downtown. It was established in 1992 and features an event space with a firepit and stage, outdoor kitchen, a nursery in spring/summer, greenhouses, spaces for workshops and classes, compost piles, chicken coops, and more. It's a community gathering place, home to a cohousing project, and an educational space. Learn more about all of the offerings and services River School Farm provides on their website here.

During the tour, Farmer Tom…

CSA Guest Post: Why is Food More Flavorful Abroad?

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program through Green Gal's Garden is in full swing--we are already in week four of the twenty-week program! CSA boxes in the past month have contained a variety of veggies, such as chard, kale, summer squash, cauliflower, scallions, basil, dill, oregano, mint, rosemary, lemon balm, eggplant, spinach, cilantro, rhubarb, peas, flowers, blueberries, and more! The tomatoes are still green on their vines but there are hundreds of them, the corn is nearly ready, and the peppers are tempting me with their size but haven't started coloring up yet. So much deliciousness still to come! (See the latest photos from the garden on Instagram.)
I'm grateful for so much these days--the potential contained within seeds, the land I am able to farm this summer thanks to the generosity of soon-to-be-family, the encouragement and support from those who believe in my dream and have helped the garden grow. 

On harvest days like today, I am particularly …

Being the Change this Earth Week: A Speech

Happy Earth Week! I was invited to speak at my high school, Amador Valley High School, in celebration of Earth Week today. It's been awhile since I visited the place where I spent four years of my life learning and exploring my identity as an environmentalist. I actually started this blog while attending Amador Valley High School! Below is the text of my speech that I used as a reference this afternoon. What I actually said varied slightly, but here's the gist:

Hello, my name is Melissa Ott, and I graduated from Amador in 2010. I’d like to thank the organizers of Earth Week for inviting me to speak to you all today. Before I begin, I would like to a take a moment to acknowledge that we are standing on indigenous land and honor the Muwekma-Ohlone people who cared for this beautiful valley for generations before it was settled and renamed Pleasanton. The descendants of the Ohlone are still alive today, some of them in the Bay Area working to gain recognition and access to their …