the Cleveland years 2005-2009
We moved to a hardscrabble area of Cleveland, Ohio to help transform it on as many fronts as possible. And one of these fronts is "nature".
A good deal of nature in this city (and in many cities across the country) has been paved over. And much of what's left is a lot like our backyard was when we moved in several years ago: weeds, patches of scraggly grass, long neglected soil and a pigeon.
My wife Liz, who has a green thumb that won't quit, set out (with the help of our children) to turn our long-neglected backyard into a diverse Backyard Habitat -- read: Permaculture.
The weeds were pulled, compost was mixed in with tremendously sandy soil, an organic garden was planted and native plants like ferns, a berry bush, geraniums, and so much more, were put in.
Each year, the plant biodiversity gets fuller, the garden yields more and a good mix of squirrels, birds, chipmunks, and even a small garter snake, have taken up residence out back.
What's more, many of the days we're back from the road, our family can be found out digging in the back or working just across the street on an "urban farm" that has been developed on an old vacant parking lot.
It's my contention that one of the reasons there's such a hard, chaotic edge to the city, any city, is that many people have been unplugged from the tremendously grounding experience of, at times, working on the land.
For more, see our agriculture position paper.
“Wait ‘til you hear what we’re going to do with the White House lawn.” --Joe