On Sunday night last, April 27th, ten neighbors met in the Green Acres Neighborhood Garden (GANG) for our regular monthly potluck and update as to our plans and projects. Unfortunately, I forgot to either assign secretarial responsibility or to take notes myself, so hopefully I can convey what we talked about.
Georgia had quite a long list, including the Small and Simple Grant she has applied for, which would pay for printing and postage for a planned quarterly newsletter sent to all 440 homeowners in the Green Acres Neighborhood. We’ve decided to publish this newsletter to help those who own Green Acres rental home recognize the sustainability goals of the Green Acres Neighborhood, as per our vision statement, as filed with the City of Bloomington:
“Green Acres aims to become a sustainable neighborhood that embraces neighborliness and forges partnerships within and beyond its borders.”
Georgia gave an example of “partnerships beyond its borders” concept in her effort to get Green Acres neighbors to go with her to help one of the local churches, just across 3rd Street from our neighborhood, with the redesign of its wonderful, but neglected in the past year or so, labyrinth. Four of us met there, on Saturday morning, to help that effort. Here are Georgia and neighbor Devon, walking the new design (notice the flags with red paint; the actual paths will be mowed rather than lined with rocks, as before).
Another very interesting initiative that Georgia brought to the table was the idea of collecting all the beer cans that flow forth from student rentals during weekend parties. Rather than putting them in the recycle bins, how about collecting them for the neighborhood, and getting money for them to put back into neighborhood projects? (We can get 50 cents a pound for them.) The students and other young people present at our meeting really jumped at this idea. One of them, Rebekka, decided to take it on. I suggested that she give the initiative a name. Later that evening she sent an email to the GANA email list:
Here’s the Uncanny Village Project (name not set in stone) outline:
-Now would be a great time to collect cans due to the semester drawing to an end and student partying.
-The recycling weeks in May are the week of the 12th and that of the 26th, so getting people’s cans before then would be best.
-On an evening very close to the Wednesday recycling day we will go around to houses (preferably those with partying individuals) to ask if people would be willing to donate their cans to our fundraising project. For example, I can go on an early evening while walking Haskell and knock on some houses down 7th, Clark, and 5th Street.
-While going from “door to door”, we will tell them about the overall GANA plan and goals, and offer to add them to the email list if they’re interested.
-If they’re willing to give us their cans, we will tell them to put out their cans the evening before normal pickup (either Sunday evening or Tuesday evening – I don’t totally understand how the schedules are split up) so we can gather them up in time before some set time, like 8pm.
-The more closely we can emulate a system that resembles what they’d do anyway, the more likely we will get them to give us their cans.
What do you think?
I emailed her back saying that I didn’t really understand the name. Duh! “UnCANny” . . . Okay, now I get it. In any case, it’s a go! Thanks, Rebekka! I love this idea of repurposing beer cans, since so many of them are generated in this neighborhood with so many students.
Contact Rebekka (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on this initiative.
The other Rebecca at the meeting, an organic gardener with 40 years experience who is heading up the GANG garden this year, spoke about putting up regular hours for working in the garden. She will do this on the Green Acres Neighborhood Garden facebook page, as soon as her work schedule elsewhere is finalized. Meanwhile, she (we) have lots of vegetable starts for sale, cheaper than at the Saturday market, if you’re interested. Come over to 2601 E. DeKist, or email her: email@example.com, or call her: 812-822-2053.
Oh yes, and look for an email to the list about the upcoming annual Plant Share, to be held probably on May 17th, at a new location this year, the GANG garden, 2601 E. DeKist.
I spoke about my own initiative, or rather, Grand Plan! that might take decades to fulfill — most likely beyond my time on this planet — but which begins with David Orr’s suggestion, when he spoke here a month or so ago about his work with The Oberlin Project, a town/gown sustainability initiative in Oberlin, Ohio — and that is, to learn to have lunch with lots of different kinds of people. Last week I began, by lunching with the Assistant to the Sustainability Director of IU; at 4 p.m. this afternoon I will have coffee with the Sustainability Director of the city of Bloomington. Not sure who’s next. The aim of these conversations is to start a new kind of discussion in town, one in which the Green Acres Neighborhood might serve as a pilot project. More on this later.
BTW: the meal was great, lots of salads, very much in keeping with the spring urge for fresh food! Hey, check out this morel! A seasoned morel-spotter found it this morning, and five others, so far, in my still mostly dormant backyard.
Hard to see, eh? Clue: it’s in the center of the photo; looks like a brain.
We happened to schedule April’s GANA potluck in the GANG garden for the evening before it started raining, luckily, and it’s just now let up, after two days and nights of off-and-on again thunderstorms.