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Dave Snyder

Entries by Dave Snyder

Farm Report Is Weather Report Is Farm Report

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2011 | 3:22 PM

Some people hate talking about the weather, as if it was only spoken of when all other conversation topics had been exhausted. Not gardeners and farmers. For growers, the weather is a constant source of attention. Weather brings your largest successes and setbacks. For farmers it's the difference between a...

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Rooftop Farm Report: Winter Is Not Bee Season

(2) Comments | Posted May 19, 2011 | 12:43 PM

A little over a year ago, I started as Rooftop Farm Director at Uncommon Ground on Devon, a restaurant in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, blogging about the experience for the Huffington Post.

Last year I wrote about the swarms difficulties and harvests successes of growing on a...

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Certified Organic: The Inspection

(3) Comments | Posted August 11, 2010 | 10:40 AM

Rooftop Farm Report: Demeter Is In The Details

When I was coming up as a young nerd, tests in school were greeted with a weird mixture of anxiety and thrill. Now, lo these many years later, the feeling of being assessed can still cause a reflexive tinge of worry. Today...

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The Good, the Bad and the Fungi on a Rooftop Farm

(5) Comments | Posted July 26, 2010 | 12:17 PM

While I was tying up the hops vines this afternoon, my boss Michael Cameron came up behind me. He looked agog about something, and I was worried that something was wrong.

"Those beans!" he gasped.
"What beans?" I asked, still unsure if I was in trouble or...

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Summer Growing

(0) Comments | Posted July 12, 2010 | 6:28 PM

Farmers will tell you there's a weird quiet time in the summer. Between the manic planting schedule of the spring and the busy harvest time lies a pacific period in the early summer. Harvests are moderate but encouraging and most everything is already in the ground. The first week in...

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Uncommon Ground Rooftop Farm Report: God Bless America

(1) Comments | Posted July 6, 2010 | 11:32 AM

Historically speaking, most Americans have either farmed or gardened, and while maybe it's not as common as it once was, the last several years has seen a renewed interest in productive growing. Not only has there been a proliferation of home and community gardens (a friend's recent attempt to...

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Rooftop Farm Report: Whoa, Food, Slow Down!

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2010 | 9:44 AM

Monday morning at Uncommon Ground, our interns Joseph and Josh picked 12 pounds of snap peas from our roof. Picking, washing, weighing and delivering (by putting them in the walk-in refrigerator for the chefs to use) took perhaps half an hour. By that evening, diners at our annual Brew Masters...

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Rooftop Farm Report: Fertility Problems for Soil

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2010 | 3:07 PM

A cool, rainy weekend followed by a couple muggy days has been benefiting plants all over Chicago. We harvested garlic scapes, and snow peas this week. Early next week, we'll be plucking up a whole bunch of arugula microgreens.

For regular readers of this blog, you'll know that the...

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Rooftop Farm Report: Organic Certification, A Lot Of (Good) Paperwork

(2) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 3:52 PM

And so the story goes: when Helen and Mike Cameron were inspecting the building that would soon be Uncommon Ground on Devon, Helen climbed up on a ladder to inspect the roof and shouted down to her husband and business partner below: "And we can grow food up here too!"

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Uncommon Ground Rooftop Farm Update: Week 5

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2010 | 3:33 PM

Summer's here! Not only has the weather been unflaggingly summery (hot days, warm nights, the occasional thunderstorm) tomorrow is the initiation of a favorite summertime standby: the farmer's market. For Uncommon Ground this means we close off our parking lot, set-up a bunch of vendors, bring in a...

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Uncommon Ground Rooftop Farm Update: Week 4

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2010 | 3:26 PM

To follow-up on the bee drama from last week, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that, after all that swarm wrangling we either lost or injured the queen. Beekeeper Liam says he looked all over our new hive and couldn't find her. His plan is to...

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The Bee Swarm

(4) Comments | Posted May 20, 2010 | 5:18 PM

Remember when we said we were going to treat our Varroa mite infestation? Well. Beekeeper Liam Ford and I were all set to do it this Wednesday, when all of a sudden everything changed.

You see, farming -- like life -- rarely goes according to plan. You think...

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Farm Report: Starting The Year From Seed

(2) Comments | Posted May 13, 2010 | 5:28 PM

Whether you're a farmer, a gardener, or an apartment dweller with a window box, all growers are beholden to the weather gods. In Chicago, those gods can be fickle and, on occasion, cruel. 2010 hasn't been too bad but we're still one day out from Chicago's official frost...

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Chicago: The Nation's First Certified Organic Rooftop Farm

(4) Comments | Posted May 6, 2010 | 2:18 PM

One month ago I started as the Rooftop Farm Director at Uncommon Ground, a restaurant on Chicago's north side that grows food on a 2,500 square ft. rooftop. For many years I've helped run a community garden in the spare time around my desk job, and now I...

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