Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gardens are popping up everywhere

I've heard and read some awesome and disparate reports about green spaces, community gardens, and school gardens popping up all over the place. Just two that I've encountered in the last couple of weeks come from Flint, Michigan and Talledega, Alabama.

Flint's auto industry ties slowly corroded the whole city. Politicians and residents are looking into tearing down abandoned lots, relocating some residents, and making the bulldozed lots into places where people can grow flowers and veggies and beautify their town by helping nature reclaim large spaces. In essence, the town will flourish by shrinking. NPR reports:

One way residents are filling the city is with community gardens. One of them is managed by Harry Ryan, a retired electrician and real estate agent who lives in Flint's old east side. Just across the street from his home, where five houses used to stand, the land bank has helped him plant a sprawling community garden, which provides free fruit and vegetables to this part of the city.

Ryan says growing food one of the benefits of a plan to shrink Flint. "I look at it like this: Something has to be done with this abandoned land. So, I think, [in] every transition there are going to be negatives, but look at the positives. This was a junk pile," Ryan recalls.

"Now people are eating from it. I know there are complaints, but we do not have the 230,000 people [anymore]." (picture reprinted from NPR)

Pretty neat stuff. Where the human industrial economy has failed, nature's economy can reclaim.

And children can obviously benefit as I'm sure Zach can tell us from this summer's work. But in the deep South in Talledega, Alabama, a minister has seen fit to develop community gardens to help children learn self-sufficiency. The Daily Home reports that Reverend Sherman Green has set up a garden in cooperation with the "Cooperative Extension Service and Coosa Rural Development office" to teach children "how to grow a fruitful garden using new, innovative methods [and] the basics of business and entrepreneurship."

Perhaps we are seeing a recalibration occurring and its time to pitch a real proposal to our College.

Teachers + Children + Gardens = Self-sufficient Communities

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