Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rollercoaster of Regulations and Subsequent Emotions

It's been a while and I apologize for the delay. I assure you I'm still here. But sometimes it ain't easy being a pioneer. And that's what us, Re-Imagining Grantees, are. Pioneers. You see, the Federal government gives cities money all the time for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. And from what I can tell, cities do things like deconstructing abandoned houses and creating parks with that money. Cleveland, however, is trying something wholly unique with the Re-Imagining program in that Cleveland is actually funneling money directly to its citizens (and it neighbor's citizens, like me) for the people to do their own projects. This is a very grassroots approach. And when I write "wholly unique," I mean no city in the United States has ever given this kind of Federal money directly to the people before. Hindsight being 20/20, we all should have known their were going to be some snags to work through.

You can see a picture of one such snag above. On Wednesday, I went around my farm's neighborhood, taking pictures of houses with chain-link frontages and collecting their addresses. The city wanted a total of six residential frontages to verify that chain-link is normal for the area. Lucky for me, this is Cleveland, and chain-link is everywhere. So this task only took about an hour. Other snags have included water access, zoning laws in regards to permanent improvements on Land Bank land, soil lead levels, etc. Somehow and lucky for me, my soil's lead levels are low. Otherwise, I'd have to create giant raised beds on the entire property. You see, the danger of lead is not from growing veggies in it, but rather from when it becomes airborne like when you're tilling or plowing.

Please understand, I call these examples "snags." But really, they're just real-life laws and regulations that need to be worked through and sometimes formally changed. So that's why and how us, Re-Imagining Grantees, are pioneers. As I am not an anarchist, I accept these cogs in my narrowly-focused-Western wheel. I am not complaining, just stating the facts. That was the reason for the long delay in writing, I didn't want to be reactionary and complain.

In the meantime, I've been harvesting bok choys left and right in my personal garden. Today, I just harvested three different bok choys: extra dwarf, mini, and mid size. Easy and fast, I love bok choy (as do snails, hence the holes). "Real food doesn't always look perfect" should be some kind of mantra.

I've also been out morel hunting. Being in the woods always clears my head, and finding morels pretty much makes me ecstatic. If you can't tell by the picture, Sarah and I were successful in our hunt. We made a Buffalo Morel Stroganoff that looked completely disgusting, but tasted amazing.

Subee-1's transformation into a U.A.V. (Urban Agriculture Vehicle) is nearing complete. Back on the 11th, me and my buddy Mike hauled 16 32-gallon trash cans of leaf humus over to the farm. Also, during the last week of hellacious thunder and wind, I learned Subee-1 doubles as a pretty awesome makeshift greenhouse with the storage capacity of roughly 400 plants. Giving credit its due, my dad used to use my Plymouth Colt like this in high school. The extra warmth and muted light seems perfect for plants.

Going forward, I want to be writing a lot more, perhaps even creating a regular writing schedule. I also may be revamping this blog, or starting a new more graduated version of the blog soon. I'll probably be choosing the latter option. Anyways, over and out. I got trellises to build.

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