Dylamato's Market has a new grocery store.
Everyone's Garden is demonstrating that healthy food can be grown in a neighborhood with a history of industrial pollution.
We're working on getting established community gardens officially recognized as the precious asset they are.
Our children need more positive places to go, and there are people working on it. Learning programs at the library. We can have scheduled outdoor learning labs where young people work and/or play (depending on their ages, inclinations, and abilities) in one or more of the gardens or parklets.
Janet Evans and others at Roselle Court have gotten built eight raised beds for apartment residents.
Hazelwood Urban Farms, a half-acre "micro-farm" bordering the woods on Chatsworth St., is beginning it's second year as a CSA (community supported agriculture) operation with seasonal subscriptions to provide weekly groceries.
Community hopes for development at the former Gladstone School include an urban farming component, with possible rooftop garden(s), greenhouse(s), aquaponics operation, and life science career center.
A healthy local economy is one less dependent on the ups and downs of the larger economy. When you can buy better quality, fresher garlic or lettuce grown locally, why would you source something grown hundreds or thousands of miles away (as much of our food is)?
A healthy local ecosystem is one in which a good amount of the food eaten locally is grown locally, and grown naturally, without pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers. The richness of human life in a thriving diverse neighborhood is mirrored by the quantity and complex diversity of the web of life (aka food chain) in that neighborhood.
The Glen Hazel Garden on Johnston Street seems to be shaping up as a hands-on learning/working garden, with now a good metal fence and a tool shed on the way.
Volunteers helped build several garden sheds and a stage at the Summer Marketplace last year before the cold weather set in, and we will be getting them installed in the gardens as the Spring comes on.
The Hazelwood YMCA Community Garden is one place we enjoy working together, and expect to be getting plants started in the greenhouse there soon.
Progress is being made in establishing a little sitting park and flower garden and play area across Lytle from Everyone's.
We are working with the city to replace many of our vacant and overgrown lots with either managed areas planted with perennials or gardens. These green areas can be of many varieties:
community gardens with plots or beds for individuals to take charge of;
community gardens in which people work together on one bigger common plot;
whole plots cared for by single individuals;
plots with gardens dedicated to growing medicinal and/or culinary herbs and/or veggies and/or mushrooms and/or fruits for and/or potted plants (for sale or share with neighbors).
We can have areas with the kinds of plants that need very little care and re-grow by themselves each year. Picnic tables and benches where you can just heal from the jabber of the city. Or walk your dog in peace. We can, together or alone, start plants out to sell or give away this Spring. Aromatherapy gardens, specializing in the most fragrant species, providing a constantly changing mix of pleasant smells to passersby. Home-based businesses selling value-added home-grown products such as horseradish vinegar (a favorite of mine).
Garden seeds will be available for sale at both Floriated Interpretations and Dylamato's Market this year. Both these establishments are welcoming locally home-produced healthy products - Floriated Interpretations specializing in pretty and practical, Dylamato's quality and affordable.
By merging our best hopes we can make our part of the world a welcoming and more comfortable place. As environmental challenges increase, the only logical option we have is to deepen our relationships with each other and so cooperatively solve problems. Many things are possible to be done together which are absolutely impossible to be done by one person alone. Some of the dreams that pull me out of bed each morning:
Wonder gardens, designed to inspire awe at nature's beauty;
Happy, well-fed kids who enjoy playing outside and are familiar and comfortable with bugs, worms, insects, and other living things;
Food forests and curiosity gardens, where people are free to wander off the beaten path and nature is given a certain amount of free rein. One might be called The Serendipity Garden, another The Discovery Garden. We could have a Mister Roger's Neighborhood Garden. A Steel Industry Heritage Garden. A Garden for the Future. A Crop Circle Garden, for those of us (self included) who recognize that we are not alone in the Universe. We get help from afar (and we sure need it at this stage) to the extent we abandon our addiction to the superstition of materialism and become motivated to serve all life rather than just our own.