The Next Small Thing

Wanda Strukus is a writer/director/filmmaker who likes small things with large ramifications.

The Community Garden Project is a documentary film about urban gardens. And community. It is about our desire for a little plot of land, and our need to grow something of our own. It is about sustainability, how we eat, and how we care for one another. Or not.
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Helen Mirra
Hourly Directional Field Notation, 31 August, 6 and 8 September, 2011
oil and graphite on linen
60 1/2 x 60 1/2 inches

I went to a seminar last night about walking and making art (or making art through walking, or walking as the work of art) and fell quietly in love with Helen Mirra’s Field Notations.  She walks for seven hours, and at each hour, stops and makes a print or rubbing from the materials (rocks, branches) around her, using ink and muslin she carries with her in her backpack.  And sometimes, with Ernst Karel, she takes hourly sound recordings as well.  Her work makes me think differently about the experience of walking (and recording the experience) and how the long, long winter has made my walking hasty and utilitarian, unacknowledged, and unrecorded.  Enough of that! Spring starts today, so gray and rainy and ready or not, I walk!

Posted at 8:03am.

Helen MirraHourly Directional Field Notation, 31 August, 6 and 8 September, 2011oil and graphite on linen60 1/2 x 60 1/2 inches
I went to a seminar last night about walking and making art (or making art through walking, or walking as the work of art) and fell quietly in love with Helen Mirra’s Field Notations.  She walks for seven hours, and at each hour, stops and makes a print or rubbing from the materials (rocks, branches) around her, using ink and muslin she carries with her in her backpack.  And sometimes, with Ernst Karel, she takes hourly sound recordings as well.  Her work makes me think differently about the experience of walking (and recording the experience) and how the long, long winter has made my walking hasty and utilitarian, unacknowledged, and unrecorded.  Enough of that! Spring starts today, so gray and rainy and ready or not, I walk!
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I’ve been spending a lot of time the woods with Two Roads Performance Projects, producing Dance in the Fells: Wright’s Pond, a site-specific dance project in which we invite choreographers to create a dance for a specific outdoor site.  Why make dance outside? There are so many answers to that question, but I’ll start with these images — a small snippet from a dance that Monkeyhouse is creating on a small promontory on Wright’s Pond in Medford, MA.  We watched their work-in-progress at the end of an early September day, just as the pond turned to gold.  Beautiful!

Posted at 2:42pm and tagged with: dance, site-specific, fells, middlesex fells reservation, performance, outdoors, nature, wright's pond, two roads performance projects, dance in the fells, dance in the fells: wright's pond,.

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Cure for a cold, gloomy, and wet fall day: Gotham Greens!  Check out their high-tech rooftop hydroponic farm located above a Brooklyn bowling alley.  Locally grown, pesticide free herbs and vegetables produced using clean energy sources, and I can’t believe how much I want some of that lettuce right now!

(all photos: Gotham Greens)

Posted at 5:03pm and tagged with: urban farm, urban farming, gotham greens, hyrdoponic, hydroponics, hydroponic farm, garden, gardening, urban gardening, agriculture, sustainable, lettuce, rooftop, rooftop garden, greenhouse,.

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This blog is mostly about community gardens and sometimes about bicycles, but I, the blogger, am primarily an artist, and only a gardener with effort and a cyclist with great effort.  It is hard, figuring out how to apply my artistic strengths (theater, film, writing) in support of what I care about (community gardening and urban agrictulture).  This entry is a reminder and an indulgence.  Please: Indulge along with me.

Posted at 10:32pm and tagged with: art, ira glass, writing, gardening, community garden, urban agriculture, sustainability, bicycle, aritst, theater, film, writing,.

This blog is mostly about community gardens and sometimes about bicycles, but I, the blogger, am primarily an artist, and only a gardener with effort and a cyclist with great effort.  It is hard, figuring out how to apply my artistic strengths (theater, film, writing) in support of what I care about (community gardening and urban agrictulture).  This entry is a reminder and an indulgence.  Please: Indulge along with me.
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In fact!  

By Peter Drew of Adelaide, Australia, via Ken and Danny through the feed.

Posted at 3:36pm and tagged with: bike, biking, bicycle, urban biking, sustainability, peter drew, environment, fitness, health, bike art,.

In fact!  
By Peter Drew of Adelaide, Australia, via Ken and Danny through the feed.
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I don’t usually post food photos, but these are delicious!

I can’t believe it took a hurricane threat to get me to try them!

I went to the garden to say a pre-Irene goodbye to the tomatoes (and to pick any that might be willing to ripen on a windowsill).  

I’d planned to leave the full-on green ones to weather the storm, but some of them had already gotten wind of Irene and had chosen the “opt-out” feature. Who wants to hurtle through 80-110 mile wind gusts?  I get it.  Why not just drop gently to the earth and avoid the drama?

So there they were, a bunch of tubby and rebellious green and green-white-pink tomatoes scattered along the garden path. What to do?  

Cook them, of course!

These are non-traditional fried green(ish) tomatoes: sliced, dipped in egg, and dredged through a mix of cornmeal, smoked Spanish paprika, sea salt & pepper, and then pan fried in olive oil. The Spanish paprika is fantastic & the cornmeal makes them gluten-free…

Happy Hurricane and be safe!  

Posted at 7:37pm and tagged with: food, garden, gardening, irene, cooking, green tomatoes, friend green tomatoes, paprika, recipes, hurricane, supper,.

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OH, BICYCLE DREAMS!

Have you seen this?

You’ve probably seen this. 

But watch it again — it will break your heart in the best way possible.

Industrial Revolutions - a film about Scottish stunt riding star, Danny MacAskill. This excerpt was broadcast in a UK documentary project, Concrete Circus.

I am embarrassed to admit that sometimes I’m too afraid to ride my bike in the city. White-knuckled, squeaky fear.  

This makes me dream of riding my bike.  And leaves me breathless.

Posted at 6:15pm and tagged with: Danny MacAskill, bicycle, bike, biking, green, green living, industrial, street cycling, stunt cycling, stunt riding, transportation, documentary,.

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When Marjolein Noyce posted this on Ikea Hackers, I sprinted (figuratively) to the Conceptual Devices website to check out their “Malthus: A Meal a Day or How I Learned To Stop Worrying about the Food and Love the (Population) Bomb”

Yep, it’s a smarty-pants in-home aquaponics unit based on an Ikea Broder hack.  

Fantastic!

Although, if I kept fish in my apartment, I’d get way too attached to cook them…

Posted at 10:14am and tagged with: food, permaculture, sustainability, ikea, conceptual devices, garden, gardening, indoor garden, aquaponics, aquaculture, diy, urban agriculture,.

When Marjolein Noyce posted this on Ikea Hackers, I sprinted (figuratively) to the Conceptual Devices website to check out their “Malthus: A Meal a Day or How I Learned To Stop Worrying about the Food and Love the (Population) Bomb”
Yep, it’s a smarty-pants in-home aquaponics unit based on an Ikea Broder hack.  
Fantastic!
Although, if I kept fish in my apartment, I’d get way too attached to cook them…
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SHARING BACKYARDS (Oh, Canada!  Part III)

This is so, so interesting to me.  And not just because it’s Canadian.

I confess; my current city does not have its urban agriculture act together.  

It has one (1) community garden, inconveniently located on the outskirts of the city.  It took a fair amount of research for me to discover its whereabouts.  And while you might think it’d be easy to get a plot in a secret garden once you discovered its magic location, it turns out I’m number 29 on the waiting list and will continue to be so for years.

Clearly, the city could use more than one secret community garden.  For perspective, the two adjacent cities have 12 and 15 community gardens each.

My city (my city!) has absorbed “community gardens “ into its “urban space plan,” a project so steeped in bureaucracy that it pits playgrounds for children and community gardens against one another in terms of priority of funding.

But then.

Enter “Sharing Backyards,” a project created by Vancouver-based City Farmer.

Sharing Backyards is a program that connects private land-owners (homeowners with yard space) to people who are looking for garden plots.  

Abracadabra.

Bureaucracy-free community gardens.

I’m meeting with some garden-activists tomorrow, and we’ll take a look at the Sharing Backyards model.  Truth be told, what works above the 49th parallel does not always (does not usually) work in the States, but it’s worth a try.  Community gardens don’t need to be a “city” project, and frankly, many of the most successful, longstanding community gardens in NYC, Boston, and other U.S. cities are the products of grassroots, community, and guerrilla efforts; the official city stamp came much, much later.

If you’re curious, here’s the link to the sharing backyards website:

http://www.sharingbackyards.com/welcome

And if you haven’t checked out City Farmer: http://www.cityfarmer.info/about/

Posted at 11:42pm and tagged with: garden, gardening, urban agriculture, community garden, community gardens, permaculture, sustainability, local, locally grown, food, vegetable gardens, canada, canadien, communal gardens, garden shares, sharing backyards, city farmer,.

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One of the “5 most nutritious plants in the U.S” is a tasty weed!  Oh, delicious Lamb’s Quarters!  

(from those amazing folks at the Permaculture Project!)

Posted at 4:49pm and tagged with: garden, gardening, permaculture, urban agriculture, sustainability, food, nutrition, lamb's quarters, foraging, weeds,.