Today we finished ordering seeds for the coming season, everything from salad greens and juicy heirloom tomatoes, dinosaur kale and sweet red Carmen peppers to a variety of cut flowers with funny and exotic names; Pumpkin-on-a-Stick, Old Mexico Zinnia's and Snow-on-the-Mountain. I can almost picture the garden at full bloom, vines heavy with fruit and beds bursting with color. I can't wait for summer! But until then, we've got a ton of planning to do.
We attended our first Grand Traverse Neighborhood Association meeting, the neighborhood that we and Aldrich Park live in. After presenting a bit about the project, and answering some questions from some very curious neighbors, a group of small business owners, farmers, city officials and lifetime Flint residents, we received unanimous support for the farm on Aldrich. This is awesome, because we'll be submitting this letter of support with the proposal.
Twyla and I took a little trip down to City Hall to meet with Craig from the Department of Transportation to look at some very old aerial maps of water lines all throughout Flint. Some maps were from 1908! It appears there are three main lines that are relatively close to Aldrich; one runs down Hall Street, North of Court, another runs along Fenton and the third on Atwood. We went out to the site with Craig and he measured the approximate distance from the main line at Atwood to the center of the park: give or take 300 feet. With 300 feet of pipe, plus labor and reconstruction, the running total would come to near $30,000.
I've been reading up on city partnerships and collaborations with urban farms and gardens so that we can try to build on what already exists, in terms of policy and regulation. What precedents are there for public-private partnerships and urban agriculture? Check out Growing Power's Chicago projects on Grant Park and Jackson Park, both collaborations with the Chicago Park District. Alemany Farm in San Francisco is also a partnership with Parks and Recreation, city agencies and nonprofits. Real Food Farm is also located on city park land and works in collaboration with Baltimore service corps and city public schools.
I'll leave you with a view from Millennium Park in Chicago,