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“Green is the new Black” because “Black is the new President.”

November 8, 2008

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With the tapping of Barack Obama as the Pres-elect of this great nation, one part of our society gets an immediate boost: community organizing.  Despite (or perhaps in reaction to) Sarah Palin’s blatant ignorance in lampooning Community Organizers, this grass-roots form of social movement has entered the spotlight, en vogue.  The pervasive sense among my peers (who voted overwhelmingly for the Illinois senator) is one of having reached the ceiling of happiness provided by traditional capitalism, and to have begun the inevitable (self-correcting) plummet from the top.  I’ve mentioned this before, but its worth restating: we have overtaxed the Earth’s resources, and this financial collapse is in large part a natural reigning in of the attitudes and behaviors which led us so far astray.

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Inspired by the New York TimesMichael Pollan‘s open letter to the next president, entitled Farmer In Chief, his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and organizations like Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, individuals in cities across the country are gathering steam for similar Community Garden projects.

Enter, the Municipality of Richmond, a non-profit by the name of Tricycle Gardens, a ‘locavore’ grocery store named Ellwood-Thompson’s, and a couple dozen interested individuals. Our neighborhood is laying plans for the first Community Garden on city property. Though there is a precedent in the garden at Churchill, that neighborhood is not within city limits, significantly paring down the amount of red tape associated with such a project. Currently we are only in the planning stages– landscape architectural drafts have been proposed to the city and approved, some thirty beds will inhabit the initial garden, and we are focused on fundraising at the moment. A fence and shed are the first priorities, as well as the piping and water.

The excitement in the most recent meeting was palpable. VCU students, neighbors, the director of the Community Center, longtime residents, and professionals– graphic artists, architects, landscapers. The sense is very much one of bringing whatever gifts you possess to the table, and finding a way to use those gifts to generate money for the project. We are planning a garden party, a benefit concert, and an art auction hosted by Eric Schindler Gallery before next spring.

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