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Planting the seeds for a fall pumpkin harvest

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

By Matt Peters, Hazelwood Initiative Community Gardens Manager

This year, Hazelwood Initiative is teaming up with Arts Excursions Unlimited to grow pumpkins for a neighborhood Pumpkin Carving Party in October. If all goes well, we will have free pumpkins for folks to carve! 

The crew from Arts Excursions Unlimited helps prepare the Glen Hazel Community Garden on Johnston Avenue.Photo by Matt Peters

The pumpkins are part of the Three Sisters model of food production developed by indigenous farmers in the mountains of what we know today as Mexico, one of several places around the world where agriculture developed independently at the end of the Ice Age. This method grows three crops together in the same space: corn, beans and squash. These three plants not only provide a complete nutritional profile in abundance that can be stored for the winter months, they also are an ecologically balanced trio that does not exhaust soil fertility the way western industrial agriculture does.  

Modern methods of growing the highly hybridized, even genetically modified crop we call corn rely on thousands of acres of monoculture, an ecological desert that covers the landscape on the scale that you see from our nation’s interstate system. This industrial strategy might rotate that crop year to year with soybeans, and perhaps other crops like wheat or rye. But each planting requires extensive tilling, weeding, and external sources of fertilizer made from petrochemical industry by-products. This industry continues to factor in some of the worst wars of human history.

Perhaps our organically grown pumpkins will make for a jack-o-lantern that will keep such monsters at bay, perhaps not. Maybe knowing that we will also be growing Calico Popcorn and a mix of various types of pole beans with the pumpkins will increase the anticipation of our October festival day. 

The Glen Hazel Garden is there for Glen Hazel residents to use, and we hope that our activity this year breaks the ice and generates more grassroots involvement. Contact us if you would like growing space for yourself or want to help with this group project. We also have other spaces available for growing food, and even opportunities for someone looking for a career in the agricultural arts. Get in touch, get dirty, and get involved!

Contact Matt at gardens@hazelwoodinitiative.org or call the Hazelwood Initiative office, 412-421-7234 for more information.

Homepage publisher, Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., is a community development corporation and a registered community organization. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. does not profit by or receive compensation from contributors or organizations for mentions or links in Homepage articles.

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The Homepage is a print newspaper delivered monthly to households in Greater Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, Lincoln Place and The Run. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community-based nonprofit, publishes The Homepage through a grant from the City of Pittsburgh and advertising revenue from local businesses and organizations. The mission of Hazelwood Initiative, as a community-based development corporation, is to build a stronger Hazelwood through inclusive community development. Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director of Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. (she/her) Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor of The Homepage (they/them) Sarah Kanar, Layout and Design of The Homepage(she/her)

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