The edible estates project consisted of tearing up the manicured front lawns of several households and replacing it with plants that produced edible food. The goal was both to make a statement and to be practical. This is remenicient of Victory Gardens during the World Wars where thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt even the White House lawn had some vegetable production. Similar ideas are also implemented in community gardens, but this project specifically picked the front yard as the area to attack, making the garden front and center. Here's a video of one of the gardens to give you an idea:
Here's a video interview with Fritz Haeg about the project:
The book consists of the plans for these gardens, homeowner stories, the drive behind the project and a few guides of what you can grow in your zone. What most homeowners were worried about, as can be expected, was what would the neighbors think? However, in most cases there were positive attitudes from the community and even a closer relationship between people in the neighborhood. The front yard was no longer a buffer zone between people but an active center of activity. The book also includes a few tidbits to think about:
Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 13 are probable carcinogens, 14 are linked with birth defects, 18 with reproductive effects, 20 with liver or kidney damage, 18 with neurotoxicity and 28 are irritants - National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns
Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops. - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
"Suits fly against the national lawn-care companies, and interest is kindled in ''organic'' methods of lawn care. But the problem is larger than this. Lawns, I am convinced, are a symptom of, and a metaphor for, our skewed relationship to the land. They teach us that, with the help of petrochemicals and technology, we can bend nature to our will. Lawns stoke our hubris with regard to the land. What is the alternative? To turn them into gardens. I'm not suggesting that there is no place for lawns in these gardens or that gardens by themselves will right our relationship to the land, but the habits of thought they foster can take us some way in that direction.
Gardening, as compared to lawn care, tutors us in nature's ways, fostering an ethic of give and take with respect to the land. Gardens instruct us in the particularities of place. They lessen our dependence on distant sources of energy, technology, food and, for that matter, interest."
Legendary folk musician Joan Baez brings her talents to the Michigan Theater for a night of entertainment on November 10 at 7:30pm. The current tour is to promote her new album, Day After Tomorrow. Baez played her first folk festival fifty years ago and she is perhaps best known for her work during the countercultural 1960s with her songs of freedom and civil rights. Visit The Ark’s website for details and ticket info. And be sure to grab a CD or two from AADL to get you in the mood beforehand!
The Play Ground hasn't heard of this group-the "Us Five" Quintet-but in the publicity they sound cool. In addition, Blue Note recording artist Jason Moran plays in the first half of the evening featuring a performance that has "challenged the status quo each time out." Joe Lovano presents a lush saxophone sound that combines with his combo and Moran to provide great musical conversations. Perfect. They will be performing just post election and we will be glad to get out, relax and hear great conversations of the musical kind for a change. Friday, November 7, 8pm, Michigan Theater
Tomorrow, October 29, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be the featured speaker at the Wallenberg Foundation lecture. Archbishop Tutu, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, has been a tireless supporter of human rights in South Africa. He helped establish the the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa which investigated abuses of human rights. Tutu emphasized the importance of justice as well as forgiveness in this process. His work reflects that of Raoul Wallenberg who risked his life to save thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II. Every year, the Foundation honors a person who embodies Wallenberg's quest for peace and justice. Desmond Tutu's lecture will be at 7:30 in Hill Auditorium.
Celebrate Halloween all week at AADL: Kids in grades 4-5 can join us for an alien autopsy at our Weird Science Halloween party on Sunday, Oct. 26, from 3-4 p.m. at the Pittsfield branch or make pirate costumes and treasure maps on Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Traverwood branch. Grades 6-adult will hear chilling tales of investigations by the SouthEast Michigan Ghost Hunters Society on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room, and younger kids can dress up for our annual Halloween Party on Friday, Oct. 31, with stories, songs and treats at 9:30-10:00 a.m. or 10:30-11 a.m. in the Downtown Multi-Purpose Room (just prior to the Main Street Area Association's Downtown Treat Parade at 11:00 a.m.).
Want to experience the changing of colors in the trees without travelling to northern Michigan? The University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum is right here in Ann Arbor and features the annual transformation among its array of foliage. Even if you have visited “The Arb” before, it can become an entirely new landscape in the autumn season. They suggest visiting during the early morning or late afternoon to take a stroll through this parkland that has been around since 1907. Of the three entries into the Arboretum, the Geddes Avenue entrance incorporates the highest elevation in the area with the park’s “ceremonial gates” to provide a breathtaking panoramic view.
To learn more about autumn’s annual transformation, check out Autumn leaves: a guide to the fall colors of the northwoods. For the Arboretum’s hours of operation, take a look their website or call (734) 647-7600. Nichols Arboretum, 1600 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Impulsive behaviors can get teens in trouble with the law. Michael Kelly, Criminal Defense and Family Law Attorney, will discuss how to best avoid this trouble and what to do if youth need help. Kelly will especially highlight issues pertaining to youth with ADHD at 7 pm on Wednesday March 11 in the Downtown Library’s Multi-Purpose room. There will be plenty of time for questions from the audience. This event is cosponsored by Children and Adults with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) of Washtenaw County.
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