Monday, June 8, 2009

Good News!

First, good news: GreenLeaf has received its first grant--from the Chinook Fund! We are honored and excited at this tremendous opportunity!

Chinook supports organizations which are challenging the root causes of oppression, rather than treating the symptoms, committed to the transformation of society into one that promotes social justice and freedom from oppression, including but not limited to: racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, and ableism.

Something else I've been thinking about lately: I'm interested in working with the idea that the future of our planet is made or broken based on how we live in cities. Even as the world's cities are densely populated and densely built, they are also ripe with resources and potential.

There was a time, and not very long ago in this country, when the majority of people lived on farms or were involved in growing food. They grew it organically, not because of a fad or a philosophy, but because the technology to "fix" nitrogen and mix it into soil as fertilizer had not yet been invented. Methods of crop rotation, use and re-use of resources had been practiced and developed for centuries all the way back to the first people to intentionally save a seed, to care for a plant and harvest its bounty. It's not--it's never--too late for people to reclaim and teach each other innovations of agriculture developed by our common ancestors and practiced to this day by indigenous peoples all over the world.

So why can't we do it in Denver?

Imagine a city where medians, right of ways, front and back yards, rooftops, even window boxes grow food.

What if every house, apartment, and building captured even a little bit of energy with a few solar panels or a small wind turbine? Massive amounts of renewable energy could be harnessed to offset use.

What if everyone harvested a few barrels of rainwater to grow food and care for their yards? Even Denver's desert climate could become more sustainably productive.

What if each family grew what food they could in whatever space they had at home or in a community garden?

What if urban farmers grew crops in vacant lots, making a good living selling produce to their neighbors?

How would Denver look, smell, feel, and sound different?
How would the lives of urban residents change?
What's your vision of how Denver can be a more sustainable city?

One last thought, from Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots by Kevin Danaher, Shannon Biggs, and Jason Mark:

"At the core of urban farming is the desire to put the culture back into agriculture. It’s an effort that goes beyond organic to place communities at the center of our food system."

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