Tag Archives: city gardens

Greenbelt located in Boise, Idaho

Within a 10 minute Bike ride

I live a block off State Street in a little log cabin. I have come to refer to my noisy, congested and sometimes-violent neighbor as the little monster. The four-lane beast runs east and west connecting Boise, Eagle, Star and Middleton transforming these little towns into one big town all suckling off the State Street tit. The other day, Amy and I decided to explore our neighborhood breakfast options on State Street.

We started at The Lift and then quickly moved on to Eddie’s Diner. I will mention that the servers at both restaurants had great conversational skills and friendly smiles. From my observations, I concur that genuine smiles do not correlate with the quality of food. None of the servers came across with that used car salesperson disposition. The servers aren’t having conversations like,
“Hey Johnny, I’m gonna charge this guy $8.00 and feed him processed crap. Let’s see if he catches on that I just sold him canned beans and mushrooms.”
“Hey Johnny, my table just asked for maple syrup, so I gave them syrup that has no maple, only chemical flavoring. HA! HA! Cutting corners. Making money for the man.”

I believe servers can honestly sell their product with a smile because they have to assume the diners know they are ordering substandard food. For instance, at my place of employment, sometimes a customer will order a large hot chocolate with caramel syrup and extra whipped cream followed by a pointing pudgy parental finger at the rice crispy treat. The parent loudly declares so that the people in line can hear, “you’ve been such a good boy not complaining about taking your medication and passing your 4th grade standardized tests. You get the biggest and fattest treat.” The parent pats the kid on the head and thinks, “my child will never academically be left behind. Walking – now, that’s another story. My little whippersnapper must have an out of whack thyroid.”

At my job I assume the parents know the type of food they are buying puts their children at a greater risk for certain diseases and the purchase is simply motivated by the greater good of cheapness, oral fixations, and education. I happily hand over the congratulatory snack of diabetes. I can do this with a genuine smile and without my conscious bothering me because diabetes is a small price to pay if it’s the snack that motivates learning. I can deal with cracked heals and obesity but not stupidity. Big tobacco should lobby to have cigarettes used as a motivation for education. Once again here is my motto: I can deal with long-winded hacking and smelly breath but not stupidity.

Enough of this madness — no more wasting writing about the dysfunction of the food industry! I am going to take a positive approach and not take the typical lazy American approach of diddling time away; waiting for new legislation, a new president, a new religion, a new Dr. Phil or a new self help book to promote change in my life.

Within a 10-minute bike ride of our cabin, sandwiched roughly between Albertson’s and Wal-Mart is a beautiful world of omelet fine dining. For delicious omelet ingredients, there are three farms that have an abundance of vegetables and chicken eggs. The farms are City Gardens, Earthly Delights, and Peaceful Belly. In addition, Smokey Davis offers a selection of smoked meats and cheeses. Finally, for the perfect omelet setting there’s the Boise River that runs parallel to the little monster.

On my way to the Boise River, I stopped at Turner’s. This locally owned store offers a plethora of fishing gear next to a bar where a patron can get a shot of Old Crow Whiskey and a bottle PBR for $5. I figured if Turner’s did not sell some sort of conventional fuel, I could by some Vodka to burn.

To turn eggs into omelets, thanks to Back Bone Media and Tracy Wilson, I had a Brunton Vapor AF All Fuel Expedition Stove. The biggest selling point about the Vapor AF is that it can burn basically any type of fuel including butane, bio diesel and jet fuel. As a traveler, I enjoy the peace of mind knowing wherever I go there will be fuel that is compatible with the stove. Once I had figured out how to operate the stove, the flame became as easy to control as a conventional kitchen stove.

So here it is – one of the finest omelets I have ever eaten – a spinach, Idaho trout, and havarti dill cheese omelet made along the Boise River within minutes of the little monster and its big box stores.

Marty’s Shovel Manifesto


I’m not sure when it was that I started to formulate my shovel manifesto. Was it the summer I was discharged from the U.S. Navy, pierced my ears, let my hair grow and spent every free minute rebuilding a 1967 VW Van? Or did the act of giving up the bright red VW the next summer, and becoming a bike commuter, ignite the first shovel epiphany?

1. The combustible engine – what an incalculable waste of money and energy. What percentage of our local government’s budget is dedicated to maintaining the automobile and its necessary infrastructure? We have an entire court system dedicated to traffic! How much of your personal budget goes to maintain your car? Cost benefit analysis in human life – traffic accidents have killed more people than war (than all the wars combined, in fact).

Back then I had no idea my anger at the automobile would turn into a love affair with the shovel. (Anger and love why are they always in such close proximity to each other?) A few years later, with life on a bike, I can’t imagine why someone would want to drive a car. It’s so wonderful out here in the wind, sunlight, guided by the moon, so real and alive! No longer am I angry.

2. Human power is healthier, more rewarding and pleasurable even while it’s hard work. It’s cheap and energy efficient. It’s life at a human pace, guided by human energy and it turns out (coincidentally or not) more humane. I’m happier on a bike, even in the rain. I smile more. I’d been hit by a car or two and I still loved my pedals, but even a freewheeling, self-propelled commuter is affected by human drama and finds himself blue. It was a girl and she had broken my heart. I rode to get over it. I pushed my body, forced my heart, lungs and muscles to pump me further then I had ever gone before and then pushed even harder, but it did no good and in the end I was still broken hearted.

3. Even the wheel is limited in its ability to help humans. Sometimes we have to stand on our feet. Sometimes we must kneel and other times it’s best to lie down. A shovel is useful in all these situations. It was a small patch of grass behind my apartment on 13th street where I discovered the magic of the shovel. Ever since, I’ve been articulating the shovel manifesto in empty lots and backyards. No longer am I broken hearted.

4. Digging in the dirt is good for the soul! To watch a plant grow, blossom and bear fruit is magical and warms the heart (even the most bitter and broken ones)! Last month I flipped a backhoe over and it landed on top of me. Luckily, I only suffered five fractured ribs. It was that day that I realized I can live without these gigantic hunks of metal and plastic. They are slowly killing us, some of us they kill instantly. I find life much more pleasant and safe without’m. Time to move on.

5. Don’t run a backhoe while writing a shovel manifesto.

Garden hoe,

Farmer Marty Camberlango
A farmer who considers growing an art and uses both heart and hands to do the dirty work. I mentored under the shovel farming masters at Upper Rogue Organic in Prospect, Oregon. I consider myself a decent gourmet cook. I have spent years studying and working with place-based foods. Most recently I spent a year in the kitchen, as the Chef’s assistant, at Leku Ona, a traditional Basque restaurant. I haven’t learned how to make a living from farming yet and earn my income as a personal gardener in yards close to town. Boise’s been my hometown for 17 years. I’ve lived in the Czech Republic and Korea and traveled throughout Europe, sharpening my farmer’s eye and growing soul.

City Gardens Market. On Wednesday from 4pm to 7pm, we host a garden market at our 19th St. Garden (NW corner of 19th and Idaho). You can also catch us at the Saturday Farmers Market in Downtown Boise. We garden a number of locations and are based in Old Town Garden City on Adams St., where we have a 1 acre plot that was once part of the original Chinese Gardens. We are driven by a hardy distaste for the combustible engine, the pleasure gained from using our bodies to do work, and the desire to reclaim urban land in the name of beauty, animal and plant habitat and delicious sustenance. Juxtaposed with the noise, fumes and concrete of smoke-belching urban life, City Gardens strives to be growth of a new kind – one of bird songs, dirt and the smell of fertility.

City Gardens
marty.citygardens@gmail.com or call 713-1675
3878 N. Adams St. Garden City, Idaho

Local Grub located in Garden City, Idaho

Sustainable Omelets at Local Grub
On a quick weekend trip to Boise, Amy and I arrived early Sat. morning and tossed our sleeping bags out in the backyard of our farmer friend, Marty Camberlango. Along with Casey O’Leary, he is co-founder of Local Grub, an urban farm that provides fresh vegetables and promotes sustainable living in the Boise community. Imagine waking up to the sounds of clucking chickens, Marty’s radical work ethic, and no blinds to block the sun’s welcomed intrusion. As your senses become attuned to the environment, a realization occurs—you are cradled in an omelet womb. The eggs still have not left the warm undersides of chickens. Squash plants greet you with bright yellow edible blossoms, and tomatoes are so red it would make a model’s lips quiver with envy.

For those of you who cannot envision the garden experience, think about Wal-Mart. It is the end of the month. You just got your paycheck. Being responsible, you paid the minimum on your credit cards, and with the money left over, you head to Wal-Mart. Recall the feeling of excitement when you walk through the sliding doors, with all the elements needed for consumer happiness at your fingertips. Now you understand the garden. At Local Grub, with the exception of cheese, all the elements for the perfect omelet are at your fingertips.

Besides vegetables fresh with morning dew, there is another side to the sustainable omelet—the war effort. Bush has pointed out that evil-doers are interested in destroying our food supply through bio terrorism. This type of warfare can come in many forms. The terrorists might increase the chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics that already poison our conventional food supply. Girls are already maturing at earlier ages. Imagine babies being born with beards and pubic hair—these ugly adult babies would certainly demoralize our country. Another form of bio terrorism might be to totally wipe out the food supply. If there is a mad rush on TV dinners, does the government have enough frozen TV dinners to feed the nation?

Should people do more to support the war on terror than buying recyclable magnetic ribbons to slap on hybrid SUVs? There is a way to secure our food supply from the terrorists who want to destroy happy chickens and nonviolent tomatoes. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted Victory Gardens, sustainable living on the home front to help the war effort.


According to Wikipedia…Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences in Canada, the United States and United Kingdom during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown.

Victory gardens were planted in backyards and on apartment-building rooftops, with the occasional vacant lot “commandeered for the war effort!” and put to use as a cornfield or a squash patch. During World War II, sections of lawn were publicly plowed for plots in Hyde Park, London to publicize the movement. In New York City, the lawns around vacant “Riverside” were devoted to victory gardens, as were portions of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Marty and Casey are true American heroes!!!!!!!

Local Grub market garden
Wednesdays 4-7pm
19th & Idaho
Boise, ID