Tuesday, September 02, 2008

STL Rising - Good Eats!

One of the reasons St. Louis was chosen as a settlement was the great abundance of natural resources here. Our location on two major rivers, fertile area farmlands and forests put St. Louis right at the heart of the American breadbasket.

This time of year, look for locals to be harvesting nuts from trees in Tower Grove Park. Last night on KDHX, I heard a brief portion of Amanda Doyle's interview of someone discussing urban farming as a profession. I wonder how the urban farmers deal with the buried debris under the surface of so many vacant city lots?

Then yesterday, on a sidewalk in our neighborhood, a hawk had a rabbit trapped in its talons. Its wings had its prey completely surrounded. It was a wierd site, but something I'm surprised we don't see more often given the thousands of rabbits, squirrels, and mice which run around all over the city.

6 comments:

Seth Teel said...

Use raised bed to deal with the buried debris. Stop by New Roots Urban Farm in St. Louis Place Neighborhood. I ma sure they will tell you all about the problems they encounted when building the urban farm.

Howard said...

Is the nut harvest at Tower Grove Park carried out a) with the blessings of Tower Grove's staff & management or b) by thieves?

Our garden has over a dozen years of compost and mulch mounded up over the structure debris in most of the common areas. It's not a big deal unless you're digging to plant a tree/shrub or take one out. There's a collection of rock, asphalt, brick pieces over next to a retaining wall and that's a problem when using a weed wacker or chainsaw.

Raised beds seem to be the standard way to create growing space without using a Bobcat. Last fall, we dug out several raised beds because of drainage issues and stunted growth of some crops (nasty tasting carrots the same shape as beets). Dug out about two feet and filled in with store bought goodies. Using shovels isn't why it took days instead of hours to complete the tasks. Our problem was that we were digging out all sorts of pieces of household wares and allowed ourselves to become distracted by the archealogical dig delusion of grandeur.

I'd say structure debris at community gardens is far less a problem than the free compost and mulch we use. All over the city, people are dumping their TMV infected plant material and soil into the yard waste dumpsters. The virus is then recycled. People pick up the contaiminated mulch and compost, more soil and plants become infected, it ends up in the yard waste dumpsters, and the cycle keeps repeating.

Rick Bonasch said...

I don't know if the TGP harvest has the official blessing of park officials, but it's a timeless, fascinating sight when it's underway.

Women, under the canopies of huge trees, wearing old world styled peasant dresses, equipped with oversized, over the shoulder muslin-looking slings to carry the nuts, picking ripe fruit/nuts from trees and off the ground.

Howard said...

Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feeling about costumed people picking bouquets at Tower Grove Park?

Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feelings about costumed people re-landscaping their yards with plants dug up from Tower Grove Park?

Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feelings about costumed people trapping wildlife for food at Tower Grove Park?

Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feelings about costumed people bringing chainsaws to Tower Grove Park and carting home all the firewood they want?

Rick Bonasch said...

Howard asks:

"Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feeling about costumed people picking bouquets at Tower Grove Park?

Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feelings about costumed people re-landscaping their yards with plants dug up from Tower Grove Park?

Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feelings about costumed people trapping wildlife for food at Tower Grove Park?

Would you have the same warm & fuzzy feelings about costumed people bringing chainsaws to Tower Grove Park and carting home all the firewood they want?"


Those things would bother me. Besides, I think the city gives away free firewood at Forest Park from cut down trees.

But people harvesting food that is falling off trees in a park and otherwise going to rot or feed squirrels? Nah, I think we have more imporant things to worry about.

If they were prying the copper plaques off statues to sell for scrap, that would bother me.

If they were pulling copper trim off buildings, that would bother me.

Harvesting food that is there for the taking, and lying on the ground, I don't have a problem with that.

If the park was against it, then I wouldn't want anyone violating park rules.

Maybe they gave permission?

brian said...

My tax bill in Tower Grove East has risen to the point that I may have to go collect nuts in the park and sell them on the corner of Magnolia and Grand.