Dozens of local residents, and others from across the state, gathered at the Fayetteville home of John and Becky Douville to celebrate the release of Otis Lester Bray’s new e-book, Plasticulture Farming for Everybody: The Small Farmer’s Guide to Producing High Yields with Modest Resources. The book is available for free online at: plasticulturefarming.com.
Mr. Bray shared some brief remarks at the event and thanked several people and groups who helped to make the book a reality, including Ginger Vawter, who encouraged Mr. Bray to write the book and assisted in the project, and Adam Green, his grandson, who edited his writing. Mr. Bray also thanked the Fayette County Extension volunteers who dedicate their time to the Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) garden at New Hope Baptist Church, Al Pearson, owner of Pearson Farms, who donates peaches to the PAR garden to benefit needy families, New Hope Baptist Church, that donates the plot for the PAR garden, Jeff Myers, who started the fruit orchard for the Real Life Center and to his wife, Charlotte and family.
Plasticulture farming is a method using plastic sheeting mulch with a drip system underneath to dramatically increase crop yield. Other advantages include: earlier crops, reduced soil water loss, fewer weeds, reduced soil compaction, reduced fertilizer leaching and increased carbon dioxide levels. The method can be used successfully on a large farm and works just as well for the small farmer or gardener.
According to Mr. Bray, “We don’t need to be transporting food from hundreds of miles, away. We have everything we need here on the Georgia Piedmont for successful farming, using the plasticulture method.” Mr. Bray sees plasticulture farming as an exciting opportunity to more efficiently feed people and provide fresh, locally-grown, healthy food for food banks, children’s homes, homeless shelters – wherever there is a need.
“It’s not about the book; it’s not about me,” said Mr. Bray. “It’s about an opportunity to provide a service to the community. It is a privilege to share our bounty with family, friends, and especially the needy. We are leaving a footprint and our legacy will largely be determined by the demonstration of our faith and by how we treat other people.”
Hostess, Becky Douville, welcomed guests and shared how Mr. Bray inspired her to begin gardening, and how excited she was when she harvested her first onions! According to Janet Lester, a master gardener who works at the PAR Garden, “Mr. Bray is a local treasure who has had an amazing outreach in the community.” Cathy Berggren, Executive Director of the Real Life Center agrees and shared stories of how fresh food donations from the PAR garden have encouraged and benefitted the clients at the center struggling with food insecurity.
Mr. Bray’s goal in writing the book and sharing it for free online is to provide step by step instructions for other non-profits, churches, and individuals to begin implementing plasticulture farming methods to grow more healthy, fresh food for families in need. When you download his book online at plasticulturefarming.com, you can also make a donation that will go directly to helping start-up groups create a garden to support their local clients.