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RE: [fukuoka_farming] outreach one more time

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  • Larry Haftl
    Hello Napi, Good to hear from you again. Wish it was under better circumstances. FWIW, one of the lessons life keeps beating me over the head with is that
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 8, 2009
      Hello Napi,

      Good to hear from you again. Wish it was under better circumstances. FWIW,
      one of the lessons life keeps beating me over the head with is that whenever
      one door closes another one opens and usually what is on the other side of
      the new one is, or can be better than what was on the other side of the old

      I removed info about Circle School from the website. It will take longer to
      remove the star. Until then it just sits there not linking to anywhere.

      Stay in touchÂ…

      http://fukuokafarmingol.info <http://fukuokafarmingol.info/>

      -----Original Message-----
      From: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Napi Ippolito
      Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2009 7:57 PM
      To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] outreach one more time

      Again & always, Larry, thank you for your work.

      Sorry to report, we must ask for you to amend the star map of Fukuoka
      inspired projects; the Circle School has closed its doors, & the berm
      garden in the park will undoubtedly become a mowed hillside once more

      At some point there may be time to write a report of closure of our
      twenty years of Earth-centered early childhood education & gardening
      in community. At this time, however, the most that can be sent is
      that I am presently dismantling our beloved school, relocating the
      furnishings & library into a rented 1890's farmhouse by the Chesapeake
      Bay, praying for finding a place to purchase, a place to garden, if
      possible, by spring.

      The (uninsulated, of course) farmhouse where I am staying is itself
      available. For sale at $65,000 (not $165,000, but only $65,000) with
      1.2 acres of flood plain & wetland, it is most tempting, but the main
      gardening on the many creeks & coves of this narrow peninsula is
      oyster gardening, with several masters at it, & classes available from
      the nearby Virginia Institute of Marine Science, a campus of the
      College of William & Mary.

      Strong, tall raised beds would be necessary to garden here because the
      yard is not much over sea level. Storm surge cuts right across the
      area, cutting us off from the mainland now & then. At a couple of
      stretches, waters of the bay & the Rappahannock River are lapping
      within a few feet of each side of the two lane road, even at low tide.
      The farmhouse still standing is testimony that the water at worst has
      gotten only so deep in over one hundred twenty years, but that is salt
      water that sometimes fills the low land up to & under the house.

      To all of my fellow members of this newsgroup who write to ask & to
      answer here, thank you, too, for much enjoyable study as we read along
      & imagine each far-flung project in the world where Fukuoka San lives
      in many hearts.


      Former text on the Star Map of Fukuoka-inspired projects, now to be retired:

      Circle School in Richmond, Virginia, USA

      It is an honor for the city park berm garden by Circle School to be
      included in this list of Fukuoka-inspired projects. Circle School, in
      Richmond, Virginia, is a vegetarian families' cooperative, serving
      some 50 children, infants through high school, from all spiritual
      paths, all walks of life. The school is a placement site for Virginia
      Commonwealth University work-study student teachers, so we are all
      students here, learning together, from nursery through college through
      parenting. We love our adjacent half block of city park, which is
      itself a piece of an urban greenway, Freedom Trail, the historic route
      that connects Virginia Commonwealth University to the James River,
      passing three remaining landmarks of abolitionist & free black

      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 spending
      on maintenance that rotated, rather than interplanted, seasonal flower
      groupings. We sought design that eliminates 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 spring tilling. Then we began to learn from Fukuoka about the
      damage to the earth itself from that pattern.

      At last, we were given the opportunity to plant a steep strip along
      the alley at the top of the hill. Attitudes in the Parks Department
      have grown in support for our first trial at unmowed raised beds. At
      first, the issue was that our randomly scattered flower seeds,
      collected by the children on walks, interspersed with what-have-you,
      created what the grown-ups called an "eyesore". We respond in the
      belief that manicured lawn on the steep hillside in the park creates a
      "nosesore" & an "earsore" from regularly scheduled gasoline powered

      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. The symbiotic relationship has continued. Two years
      ago, our neighborhood Open 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. We began to chop the contents of the school cafeteria's
      honorable daily compost bowl to scatter along the berm, rather than to
      pile up in the straw bale bin that we had been using for the compost.
      (The chopped scraps are still called the compost, or, to the wittle
      ones, the pompos' bowl).

      As the chip & compost 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 & last but 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.

      Respectfully submitted,
      Napi Ippolito, Principal

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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