Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
So different from the other ways I’ve grown food—on a larger, partly commercial scale at the Local Food Project at Airlie, and with a more individualistic approach in the backyard of our former rental house—vegetable gardening at a community plot emphasizes the fact that we all have the same basic needs. Whatever your background or situation, you have to eat, and many different kinds of people choose to meet that need by producing some of their own food on this shared land. Because there’s barely any boundary between plots, these diverse gardeners can’t help but rub elbows with one another. Conversations center around soil or plants or water or pests. Talk is simple, but rich. Chatter doesn’t last long because everyone wants to get back to work.
A lot of people want to get in on this experience, but can’t. Arlington has only eight community gardens and the demand for plots far exceeds availability. While Greg and I loosened soil and pulled out weeds at the plot we have no official claim to (remember I randomly made a new friend who wanted to share hers), a man wandered up who said he’d been on the waiting list for three years. Riding my bike along Four Mile Run this evening I caught a quick view of a carefully tended vegetable garden on the bank of the stream out of sight from the road. I pedaled away with mixed feelings—excited that someone had found land in an unlikely spot to grow their own food, sad that with the next big rainstorm all their hard work will be washed away, and frustrated that Arlington isn’t meeting the enthusiasm of citizens to get out and garden.
For my independent study this summer I’ll be looking at the relationship between urban agriculture and citizenship. I’m looking forward to reading, observing, and pondering, but my big scary, thrilling idea is to use what I learn at some point down the line to form a pitch to convince Arlington decision-makers why urban agriculture should be a priority for our area. We’ll see what happens!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
OK so for the last blog I am going to write the same one for both classes. I am right in assuming this is the last week we have to blog??
I thought I would share my overall final ideas for each class.
Overall I think I am more aware of my own actions and own energy consumption. I broke out the bike this morning and rode to the post office. I’m not sure its something I will do often, but hey it’s a start. In my continuing house search I look for things, such as energy star appliances, the windows, type of heat, and age of the building. I have planted a small 3 pot herb garden. Planted. I wish I could say I they were thriving, but they are not. I kind of feel bad that I bought them as I may end up throwing it out. But I tried. As for local food, I now understand the importance of buying local food, but still like when I started the semester, I can’t afford to eat in that fashion. From Dawn’s class I have learned the qualities it takes to be a leader, but I am still having trouble putting it all together. I still don’t know how to take the leadership skills I have learned and put it into a practical situation. I still find myself being judgemental in certain situation, when I know people are doing something that is not a good ecological choice. It’s frustrating, but perhaps it will come with time. Both of these classes have frustrated me that we don’t really look at things on a global level, we have been focusing on our own communities. But maybe that will be addressed next semester. Overall I have enjoyed sharing thoughts with everyone, and reading everyone’s blogs.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Note: I finished this project while watching tonight's Cambridge City Council Meeting broadcast on "City TV". City Councilors are celebrating the ribbon cutting of a new library, while many Boston neighborhoods are reeling after the recent news that four public libraries will be closed in September and others will face budget cuts.
Here are some screen shots from my study:
- Gross floor area
- Partition Layout
- Roof Construction
- Exterior Wall Construction
- Interior Wall Construction
- Above and Below Grade Rigid Insulation
- Window Type
- Window Locations
- Exterior Window Blinds, Shades
- Unit Counts
- Occupancy Duration (day only, night only, 9-5, etc)
- Office Equipment
- Laundry Loading
- Interior Lighting Intensity and Type
- HVAC Equipment Type
- Ventilation Type (Mechanical/Passive)
- Miscellaneous Equipment Loads
- Seasonal Thermostat Setpoints
- Weather Region
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The first, and albeit easiest, task was to change light bulbs. CFLs are relatively expensive at $5.00 a piece... but they come in nice little recyclable packaging. They also come with their own recylcing kit!
I'm hoping to see changes in our energy bill...
More to come after the weekend...