Lilac jelly and tomatillos will be topics of conversation during Don Basserman's Urban Farming: For Pleasure & Profit talk at the Bob Harkins branch of the Prince George Public Library Thursday night.
Some lucky guests at the talk will be able to sample the delicious jelly and the tomatillos, or ground tomatoes, will be on display, too.
The idea of the talk is to explore the possibility of grand harvests from urban spaces and, using specific examples, Basserman will illustrate.
The pleasure part of the talk is in the broadest sense of the word, Basserman said.
"The 'for pleasure' part includes the health benefits and the sense of well being that comes with gardening," he said. "I will mix up the whole healthful piece with some vigor during my presentation. Most people, when I start talking about the health side people say,'Oh I know, Don, eating that home grown organic food is good for us' and, actually, it's about number four or five on the list. There are a number of other benefits, in my view, that exceed that. There's an immense satisfaction of growing things and then being able to take what you grow and share it, either at your family's dinner table or by handing a bouquet to someone. Or just by going to sit in your garden like (wife) Barb and I often do here in our yard to enjoy our place and space."
Then comes the dollars and sense part of gardening of which Basserman strongly advocates.
"I am going to share stories that demonstrate that I can earn a decent living out of the energies I would expend in my own yard - I live just off of Ospika and off my daughter's yard and my son's yard," said Basserman. "Those three years provide me with sufficient land base to earn a farming income that will be quite reasonable and I am going to speak to that, what it could look like and how that could-slash-should fit into the way we can do things in Prince George."
Basserman said he's going to be a kindly activist offering meaningful conversation about how we can make this work.
"If you want chickens in your backyard, I'll be the first guy to stand up and say there's got to be rules but the rules have to be flexible and accommodate - you can't have roosters and you can't have 100 chickens," Basserman said.
So then comes the earning potential to be considered and during the interview Basserman asks some simple math.
"If you buy a 12-ounce tray of raspberries for $6 how much is that per ounce?"
"When people realize they are paying fifty cents an ounce they gulp," said Basserman. "In my son's yard is probably the best raspberry patch in Prince George. It's awesome but it's not big. It produces unbelievably. We took off 300 pounds each of the last two years. So if I can take off 300 pounds of raspberries how much cash will go in my pockets? It's $2,400 from those raspberries in just that yard."
To learn more attend the free talk from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Keith Gordon Room of the library. Refreshments will be available and many foods will be sampled and given away as door prizes.