Archive for November, 2008

An Urgent Message: Act Now!

After watching this beautiful, simple film, you will want to run outside, grab a few hundred friends and make some words yourself. Never has the sense of urgency about climate action been so creatively expressed. Its relevance for Baltimore’s budding Sustainability Plan cannot be underestimated. While you are inspired and raring to go, head on over to 350.org and sign up to receive their action notices. We are scheming ways to help Baltimore develop a Climate Action Plan , neighborhood by neighborhood. Drop us a line with your ideas — either via the "contact us" page or on our social networking site’s discussion forums. Yes, we need to lean on our elected officials ( federal , state , and local ), and YES — there is a lot we can do ourselves.

Village Green Community Garden in Remington

photo by: alyssa
A short email conversation between Alyssa and Roy Skeen from the Village Green Community Garden in Remington.

A : When was the garden started? By?
R : Garden was started in 2007 by Megan Beller and Barb Fischer and myself?
A : How long have you lived in Remington?
R : 8 months
A : Was it something you were wanting to do for a long time?
R : For about a year.
A : Who did and who didn’t have experience in gardening or farming before the project?
R : I had grown food for one season prior.
A : Did you do any soil testing?
R : Yes we did three soil tests.
A : Where were you able to get your top soils from? Continued

Participation Park: Where Art and Politics Meet

photos by: Scott Berzofsky
Description of P Park by: Scott Berzofsky
Participation Park is an ongoing public art project and activist initiative based on converting a vacant lot in east Baltimore into an urban farm, social space, community kitchen, radical planning studio, free store and adventure playground. Against the increasing privatization of public spaces in the city and the top-down forms of urban planning that design them, we are squatting the land and collaborating with neighborhood residents to produce a space that responds to our collective needs and desires. Inspired by movements to ‘reclaim the commons’ and demand a ‘right to the city,’ the park is an experiment in democratic spatial practice, inviting everyone who participates in the use of the space to engage in the political process of shaping it.

Read a short email conversation between Alyssa and Scott….

Continued

Save Money and Time While Growing Healthy Food in Your Front Yard

photo (right) by: Leslie Furlong
Edible Estates is a project created by artist and architect Fritz Haeg that involves traveling around the country converting front lawns into beautiful edible gardens. He started by asking the question, if Thomas Jefferson had planted his garden on the front lawn of Monticello, what would our lawns look like today? Haeg’s project has captured much enthusiasm from families who are challenging that "estate" mentality. The idealistic picture-perfect green space is an unfortunate inheritance of the seeds planted on the plantation lawns of our founding fathers. To Haeg, the front lawn is a waste of valuable resources and the locus of mounting concerns over the effects of pesticides on human health and surrounding ecosystems. What’s most interesting about Haeg’s project is one of the first in his series of gardens was planted on July 4th, 2005 in Salina, Kansas. Part of the Great Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, Salina is also home to The Land Institute . This organization has been working for more then 20 years to find ways to restore topsoil through perennials and polycultures. Haeg’s Edible Estates aren’t just a novel idea; they are a call to action for the right to know where our food is coming from and a patriotic move to restore our homeland.

The above picture is from an Edible Estate project started April 2008 in West Baltimore. Here’s an article from the Urbanite .

Ecobroker

photo arranged by: alyssa
Amanda Lopez was the first Ecobroker Certified real-estate agent in Baltimore City and County, specializing in energy efficiency and sustainable design of Baltimore properties. Lopez of City Life Realty located on West 36th St. focuses on already-established historic communities, such as Hampden, Belair-Edison, Dickeyville, Arcadia and Bolton Hill.

Checkout an artical in bnet

Are You Looking for Unique, Repurposed Gift Items? Rebound Designs Has the Answer.

photo by: alyssa
Rebound Designs are purses handmade from the reuse of old hardcover books, most of which predate 1970. The selection I saw at a recent craft show included textbooks, D-I-Y Manuals, Little Women and Shakespeare, offering a variety of colors and designs for that popular vintage look. Have an old book you’d like turned into a bag? Creator, Caitlin Phillips is happy to take requests. Wonder what she does with the pages of each book? Well, most are beyond repair, but are sitting in her attic waiting for anyone else’s creative reuse idea…hint, hint. On occasion she finds someone to rebind them and they’re donated for further reading. She’s also happy to send you the pages with your purchase. I saw a great use for old book pages when I was at the Hamilton Tavern. The women’s bathroom has a famous female writer theme. Half the wall is covered in pages from old Jane Eyre novels. It’s quite beautiful and you’re still able to read the words. I never liked sitting down with a dusty moisture-wrinkled magazine or old newspaper while on the “john” anyway, te, he.

How to Get Unique Holiday Gifts on a Budget

photo by: alyssa

This past weekend I visited a Baltimore Free Store event usually held on monthly at different locations around the city for one day only. Here, you can find goodies of all kinds on display, free of charge. There were lots of toys, clothes and household trinkets, suitable for gifting — or, as raw materials for your creative urges. I got a couple shirts, a sweater and some retro fabric. There’s nothing like making something wonderful out of free stuff.

Then it was off to the Charm City Craft Mafia Show at St. John’s Church. Some favorite new discoveries came from Caitlin Phillips, Rebound Designs, and Baltimore’s own Spinster Yarns and Fibers . Continued