Hello from South East USA
- May we please be a blip in the map of Fukuoka inspired projects?
Dear fellow members, please tell us of any changes suggested to make
this is an appropriately styled blurb.
Circle School, in Richmond, Virginia, is a vegetarian cooperative,
serving some 50 children, infants through high school, from all
spiritual paths, all walks of life. We love our adjacent half block
of city park. Under a Department of Parks & Recreation program called
Adopt-a-Spot, with a proposal that we called Wildflower Walk, & a
paper called "More Green than Gasoline" we were granted permission to
keep areas of the park unmowed. At that point, maybe eight years ago,
we did not know about the work of Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka. Then we
talked with a neighbor in the community organization, a landscape
designer, who had read One Straw Revolution. From first hearing, the
ideas resonated with what the park cried out for, & what the school
had advocated: to free the land from spraying broadleaf weed-killer,
from dangerous steep hill mowing in frequent fumy, disruptive racket,
& from wasteful Department spending on maintenance that rotated,
rather than interplanted, seasonal flower groupings, by driving
expensive labor crews over to the park in city equipment , digging up
& throwing away the seed bearing spent flower heads, only to replace
them with skimpy rows of the next round of blooms, all descendants of
which are laid to waste in the spring tilling. Then we began to learn
about the damage to the earth itself from this pattern.
Attitudes in the Department have ranged the gamut from scorn to
indifference to interest to support for our first unmowed strip. At
first, the issue was that our randomly scattered seeds, collected by
the children on walks, interspersed with what-have-you created an
"eyesore". We responded that the manicured lawn created a nosesore &
an earsore from regularly scheduled gasoline powered mowing. At last,
we were given the opportunity to plant a steep strip along the alley
at the top of the hill. We began to chop the contents of the school
cafeteria's honorable daily compost bowl to scatter, rather than to
pile up in the straw bale bin that we had been using for the compost.
(It is still called the compost, or, to the wittle ones, the pompos'
When a company came through to trim the trees under the power
lines, we asked if we could please have a load from their branch
chipper. They were pleased to oblige, which saved them the long run
out of town to dump the chip. Two years ago, our local high school
joined us in the project of spreading the chip into a serpentine deep
mulch berm along the alley, so far a hundred feet long, two to four
feet wide, & up to three feet high. As the chip has broken down over
the past seasons, we have made an informal study of the plants that
take hold & carry on here, those that come up but last unpredictably,
& those that vanish without high maintenance.
As we study, especially through specific questions asked within
this newsgroup, we have learned steps that make the polluted urban
soil safer, as well as more productive, how to know what to expect it
to produce, & how to continuously surprise ourselves with fresh
insight from respectful observation of nature. Next up: making
seedballs with our mud pies.
Napi Ippolito, Principal
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