For the past couple of years people have been discussing the idea of “food deserts” in urban areas where there are no groceries or places for people to purchase fresh veggies and meat. This is an interesting concept of how to address that: a food corridor in Olympia, WA.
The commons is a collection of gardens, pathways, landscapes and building demonstration projects under the stewardship of the Fertile Ground Community Center and the South Sound Chapter of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild. Together, they take up half a city block and include the guild headquarters known as EcoHouse, the Fertile Ground Community Center and the Fertile Ground Guesthouse, a bed-and-breakfast owned and operated by Karen Nelson and Gail O’Sullivan.
If chickens aren’t your thing, you’re welcome to pick a handful of fruits and berries — everything from Asian pears and Cascade cherries to golden raspberries and strawberries — growing along the sidewalk.
The community invitation extends into the garden where flowers, vegetables and herbs grow in raised beds built out of recycled wood and tree limbs.
I’m interested to see how this might manifest in other places, particularly those where it’s less common already to have chickens in backyards and use the front strip of grass in your yard as a raised bed. During World War II people had “Victory” gardens in containers on their front stoops, so it’s definitely doable to grow things even in the most compacted urban spaces, but it seems like the biggest hurdle is acceptance, so what could possibly be done to raise acceptance of backyard broccoli? Ideas?
- Food deserts: If you build it, they may not come (economist.com)
- Olympia garden program raises food, self-esteem (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Sustainable Garden Starter Kit: 10 Must-Have Products for the New Green, Grower (Slideshow) (treehugger.com)