Just Sayin…

Because I can’t seem to find the time or energy these days to do the research and writing to put together a single feature blog post, maybe it’s time yet again for a little of this and that-things I wanted to write about, none of which would make a full post.

Walkabouts…not just for Australians anymore. Michael and I went on a walkabout of Johnson City Thursday night, with 130 other folks interested in all the new stuff going on in or near downtown. Aside from the fact that it was a perfect late fall evening, this ‘guided tour’, which began at Nelson’s Fine Art Center, then proceeded to several historic and new business sites, was informative and fun!

Artist’s rendering of new apartments at corner of Roan and State of Franklin

Many of the participating stops offered free food and drinks, ending with pie and coffee inside the old train depot, soon to be Tupelo Honey’s newest eatery! Future walkabouts are planned and I highly encourage you to join in the fun while learning first hand all the absolutely wonderful things that are developing in this town. And it’s a nice way to meet others in YOUR community~just sayin’…

Another growing season at the Carver Peace Community Gardens has come and (mostly) gone. It was successful, but not without its share of problems. From the flooding on August 5th, to the city rats that discovered how good sweet potatoes are, we all managed to coax lots of veggies, flowers and herbs from our plots. But the time has come to take steps to make the garden more sustainable-not just with our gardening practices, but as a community, economically, environmentally and politically. So I plan to begin the long-dreaded process of applying for 5013c (non-profit) status this winter. Doing so will allow me to apply for grant money as well as enable it to partner with sponsors and other service organizations. I’ve delayed this obvious next step because of the paper work and governmental reporting it will require, but one of the loyal gardeners has offered to help with this process, so it’s given me the incentive I needed. Remember the line from the old John Wayne movie, “This town ain’t big enough for both of us”? That doesn’t apply to community gardens and I feel strongly that  for urban growers with tiny, shady yards it’s the best way to get control of our food supply, get to know our neighbors, save money and put food on our tables, regardless of who wins the election, regardless of how much gasoline costs and regardless of the economy. We’re lucky to live in an area that gets plenty of rainfall, and where there’s still lots of green spaces for growing. If you know of an empty lot that might be suitable for establishing a community garden, let me know, and I’ll be glad to share my experience with you. Remember, behind the apartment complex, in the cul-de-sac, beside the school, anywhere there’s sun and a patch of land can be made productive. Just sayin’…

Speaking of communal growing and caring…  Crowdsourcing, according to Wikipedia, is “the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.” It’s something I’ve been hearing about more and more these days and is an idea that makes a lot of sense. Evidently it’s an old idea becoming popular again, especially with the advent of the internet in our lives.  The Oxford English Dictionary may provide one of the earliest examples of crowdsourcing. An open call was made to the community for contributions by volunteers to index all words in the English language and provide example quotations of their usages for each and every one. They received over 6 million submissions over a period of 70 years! This summer found Chicagoans watering 10,000 young trees in their city parks that were suffering during the record heat and drought. You can read about it here: http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/chicago-crowdsourcing-watering-10000-trees-during-drought.html   Other recent examples include how folks in New York City came out to help harvest this year’s crop of organically grown Mexican vegetables and herbs at El Pablano Farm when the growers suffered setbacks, retailers seeking customer input for new brand or company names, software companies asking users to test their products, and as a matter of fact, it’s EXACTLY how Wikipedia works! I believe as we transition to a lower-energy world with growing climate changes, we’ll begin to see more and more of this type of communal problem solving. Just sayin’…

Speaking of climate changes,  helloooo ‘Frankenstorm Sandy’! We here in TN are incredibly lucky to be out of harm’s way from this storm, but not so for millions of others on the eastern seaboard. Yes, yes, of course we’ve always had hurricanes, but this storm is an extremely unusual combination of Hurricane Sandy, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North. It ain’t normal folks!



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