Notes from “Social Resilience and Urban Design: NYC and the COVID-19 Pandemic” webinar (hosted by architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson) with inspiring points made by Raymond Figueroa-Reyes and other speakers.
As we look to community gardening to provide food, as it has in the past (e.g. ~40% of food in U.S. during WWII; Cuban urban farming during its Special Period food shortages), we can look to Worker Protection Gardens and Community Gardens during the Industrial Revolution and Redlining period respectively.
Food hubs are on regional scale, but we need to bring them up in micro-scales, as distributed infrastructure for basic needs. Emergent food hubs can help aggregate and distribute food available from existing production systems as well as community gardens. (One example is in the Bronx worked on by this webinar’s speaker Raymond Figueroa-Reyes and others.)
Trickle up economy: focusing support to empower communities with micro-food systems, and the benefits will rise up through the system, growing diversity and resilience.
Awesome footage of Finger Lakes-based Edible Acres plant nursery and homestead:
@1:44 Cool contrast of the land cover texture at Edible Acres forest garden alongside neighboring sparsely-treed lawn. From sunshine to complex, interdependent and diverse self-regenerating life and succession.
It’s a great situation to be in to always have a need for more trees in an area. Imagine a farmer or forester, happy to enhance and be enhanced by more trees in their life system. Life in mutual benefit with life itself: net primary productivity, biodiversity, etc. (e.g. Biodiversity promotes primary productivity and growing season lengthening at the landscape scale – Oehri et al. 2017).
Akiva Silver of Twisted Tree Farm – a regenerative tree nursery near Ithaca, NY – once said how despite growing thousands of trees, he feels bad to find himself turning down customers when sold out of trees. It’s a wonderful problem to have, wanting to grow more trees! So long as they’re able to grow – sadly worth noting considering environmental and economic degradation and deforestation.
Thankfully, trees beget trees in many ways! Supporting the propagation of future generations of trees; providing material for the propagation & other operations; regulating the environment to facilitate life; and facilitating regenerative culture in all our lives.
How can you integrate the right tree in the right place for the right reason in your life? Think beyond the tree itself. What end-goals can (and do) sustainable, regenerative tree systems satisfy? Some ideas from the 6 F’s forests offer: Food, Fiber, Fodder, Fuel, Farmaceuticals, and Fun.
Food (fats, carbs, dietary fiber, protein, mushrooms and micronutrients from tree crops and products; soil enhancement for other staple crops)
Fiber (paper, lumber)
Fodder (animal foods and wildlife)
Fuel (firewood, pellets, biomass and biochar)
Farmaceuticals (tree-based chemicals and medicines, wild grown medicines), fun (culture, recreation and wildlife).
Among the regenerative and degenerative landscapes I’ve seen, diversity is a key factor in what kind of landscape one is. Agricultural landscapes annual (e.g. corn, soy) and perennial (e.g. almonds, hazelnuts) can restore or degrade ecosystem services depending on the diversity and complexity of the agro-life sytem. Eclectic interests keep one interested, diverse plant communities keep one resilient and rich (e.g. Biodiversity promotes primary productivity and growing season lengthening at the landscape scale – Oehri et al. 2017). Life itself is a diversity, an emanating Tree of Life with unique branches to each one’s own.
It’s true that great practice in one specific area brings great fruits. Whether an excellent organic farm operation or a kick practiced 1,000 times, a la:
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Monopolies in business are a bitter-sweet example of this: bitter in how vulnerable and skewed the system can become; sweet in the fruits of specialization and the economies of scale if you’re on the good side of the skew.
However all the better that many kicks and maneuvers are practiced many times. On one level this applies to one’s own life in terms of adaptability and engagement with many aspects of life. On a spiritual level it is balance and vitality in the diverse branches of the Tree of Life. On another level this applies to the collection of many lives lived covering a diversity of ways: products in markets; species in ecosystems; geographies to live in; all the colors, shapes, sizes, and ways of life; forests.
Forests. What a vital instance of diversity in all our lives. Supporting, regulating, providing, and cultural. We humans are, after All, descended from arboreal creatures. Here’s to growing home!
These crabapples we picked turned into crabapple butter and a good time with new & old friends.
We milled out the seeds and skins: we boiled the crabapples a bit then put them through the food mill before boiling the resulting mush further into the sauce/butter. The food mill took some technique to use efficiently, but I didn’t work on that ‘station’ much so I’m not sure what the technique was exactly!
A month or two went by with the canned crabapple in the cupboard, and I gave one can to my brother and enjoyed one in my house. Including crabapple toast!