I have been exploring, and, at times, working with alley and boulevard spaces for years.  Now, I am quite certain that these often forgotten “wastelands” hold the key to some of the big questions we share as inhabitants of this planet and as city dwellers.  These little strips of land are some of the largest acreage we can see and embrace in a new way!  How so? 

  • Independently, they can become patterned garden expressions 
  • Together, home to life giving native plants and sustainable food sources for the masses, leading to a quilted pollinator highway and food warehouse! 
  • Independently, they are saucers to capture and hold our precious water resources.  
  • Together, they become a recharged reservoir of soil cleansed water! 
  • Independently, they provide beauty and new energy to their overseer’s and the community of visitors (pollinators & gardeners alike).   
  • Together, they become this ever-evolving source of life!

My one, original thought about seeds, brings me right back to the question, which is also the answer.  Invite possibility?!  I am asking you to move into action and be a role model for an integrative, whole being way of living.  I am asking you to plant a seed.  And not just any see, but your seed.  This is what is needed in the world.  Instead of looking for the next new, best plant or product on the market, get excited about creating a market of sustainable ideas and actions. We need to be willing to ask for what we need, because alone, we make a difference, and together, we can create substantial change.  Be a role model and live in a new model!

Acting as I have requested, I want to embark on my new voyage. I need you to help me prepare this new community garden, because it takes a village to plant these seed imaginings.  If we start with one boulevard or alley strip, that action will produce more seeds for the next and the next.  Think of all of the various communities of beings that could potentially benefit!  So, where do we start?

  • Please contact your local community leaders and ask them to change outmoded Codes, which prevent us from turning alley areas and boulevards into water retaining, food growing, life-sustaining spaces. (I live in Minneapolis, which conservatively has nearly 1100 acres of boulevards to potentially be repurposed.  That is amazing!  And, with the unfortunate demise of Ash trees on the horizon, now is the time to rethink these spaces.  Check out some of the language in Minneapolis code 427.10 below.  There is certainly room for improvement.
  • What do my seed imaginings embody?  Gardens and food for ALL beings.  The benefits will amaze, and the buzz in your neighborhood will connect you in ways, perhaps not yet experienced!
  • Choose to support yourself and ALL communities, which in some way support you.  How?  By choosing non-detrimental practices and low to no residual products for use in your home and garden.  The bees and other pollinators will thank you by providing you with food and gracing you with their magical presence!
  • Contact me to provide you with guidance for creating partnerships with your gardens, its inhabitants and the larger community.

One seed, and imagine the possibilities! Together, we will become the connectors and conveyors of heart led, mind fed thought and actions. Imagine what we will see on this journey and how we will be!  I certainly am excited to nurture and witness the growth of this seed!

 

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Selected Portions of the Minneapolis, MN Codes (bold italicized notes are my commentary and the underlined language are what I hope we can move to change)

427.10. Boulevards.

(b)Definitions. That part of all streets and avenues lying between the sidewalk and the property line and between the sidewalk and the roadway, shall be known and designated as "boulevards".  That part of a boulevard lying between the sidewalk and the roadway, which operates as a linear extension of a walkway extending from a building entrance to such sidewalk shall be known and designated as a "boulevard walk."

ROX’S NOTE:  This language “linear extension needs to change because engineers use this to mean flat and direct.  New language needs to include slight swales as a means to capture some of the water coming off of walkways, which drain toward them, AND we can still create level, non-wet areas to walk from curb to sidewalk.

(c)Vegetation. Except for flowers, grass and trees as provided herein, the growing or planting of any weed or similar noxious plant, vegetables, fruits, hedges, shrubs or other type of vegetation on any boulevard is prohibited, unless a permit for such is issued by the city.

(1)Flowers permitted. Flowers grown on that part of any boulevard between the sidewalk and the roadway are allowed without a permit from the city, provided that they shall not exceed thirty-six (36) inches in height, and flowers grown within twenty (20) feet of an intersection, alley or driveway approach, or five (5) feet of any public utility fixture shall not exceed eighteen (18) inches in height.

ROX’S NOTE:  These height restrictions are necessary to maintain clear visibility and create safe intersections for pedestrians and vehicles/bicycles, and there are plenty of native and food plants which could occupy boulevards with these guidelines.

 

(2) Grass and trees permitted. The growing of grass in compliance with section 227.90 of this Code and trees in compliance with Chapter 10 of the Park and Recreation Board Code of Ordinance[s] are allowed without a permit from the city council.

(d) Boulevard walks. No person shall construct or place any boulevard walk upon any boulevard without first obtaining the permit required by section 437.20 of this Code. Such boulevard walk ROX’S NOTE:  There is no mention of other constructed elements.  Does this mean that raised beds would be ok to install or include as part of a larger vegetative garden plan, as long as they meet or stay below city height requirements for vegetation and allow room for pathways between curb and sidewalk?

(g) Exemptions. Property used for nonresidential educational purposes is exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance to the extent that properly designated and constructed vehicle loading areas are created on the boulevard adjacent to such property.

Bicycle and/or pedestrian paths constructed by the city or the park board are exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance. (Code 1960, As Amend., § 570.010; 89-Or-240, § 1, 12-15-89; 99-Or-034, § 1, 4-9-99)

ROX’S NOTE:  What is considered educational?  Perhaps this is a direction to explore???

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