Category Archives: Urban Farm

Good News for the “Healing Our Borders” initial project — and more

It’s so wonderful when local good news crowds out the craziness that infects our larger world.

Two years ago, we conceived the idea of a project to “Heal our Borders” after the widening of the Bypass at the eastern edge of our neighborhood took out perhaps 100 trees. The project was ambitious, consisting of five signs at various entrances of Green Acres, a tiny park in the area where the tunnel under the Bypass on 7th street connects our neighborhood to the one to the east of the Bypass, and a project to create murals on the tunnel itself.

The first part of the project, though strenuous, came off without a hitch — until one of the signs was stolen! And now returned. Which accounts for the “good news.”

Good News Finale for Green Acres Sign Saga

The City is now constructing the second part by first of all extending a path from 7th Street to the tunnel (to compliment the path from 8th to the tunnel). And the third part, painting a mural inside the tunnel is about to commence.

So yes, after two years the City has now decided to respond to our request to design and paint a mural inside the tunnel that connects the eastern edge of our neighborhood to the Park Ridge Neighborhood on the other side of the Bypass. Very exciting.

We will gather at our weekly Community Dinner here next Wednesday to meet with Seth and Beth from the City and discuss possible design ideas and artistic possibilities, plus various ways neighbors can get involved in the project.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos from this past Wednesday’s meal,


a few more from the Wednesday before that, taken by Brie’s mom Cindy,




and several more from yesterday evening, after Dan-de-lion Dan (on right) and new housemate Evan (and old friend of both Dan and Logan (on guitar above) collected dandelions for dandelion wine. (Brie has moved out for now, to live up north with her parents for awhile.)



Sufis celebrate “Green Living” in Green Acres Village

My Sufi mentor, Darvesha MacDonald, asked me to contribute a story about our Green Acres Village to the launch of a beautiful new web magazine, Ruhaniat Ziraat. This publication is devoted to celebrating and exploring the Sufi founder’s profound understanding that Nature is our Teacher.

As Above, So BELOW

The Evolution of an Experiment in Grounded Community

BTW, in case you were wondering: I call myself a “Bufi,” i.e., one who gravitates towards both Buddhism and Sufism — as well as Gnostic Christianity, plus Native American, Pagan and other aboriginal practices. — A.K.



Community Life, February 7-9, 2017: Village Event at Public Library, Community Dinner with fancy clothes, making mead!

This week was jammed packed with community events.

February 7

First and foremost, on Tuesday, for a very receptive audience of 40-45 people, our Evolution of Green Acres Village PP presentation with my commentary plus Q&A  at the public library auditorium downtown. Unfortunately, we forgot to take pics of the presentation itself, but here’s one of the Q&A afterwards.

That’s Jelene, on the left, a neighbor from Eastgate Lane who has held several spring Green Acres plant shares in years past and attends our Community Dinners, plus Green Acres villagers Brie and Ari, Kat (who used to live here), and Rebecca.

The entire presentation was filmed by CATS (Community Access Television), and I need to fill out a form and pay $10 to request a digital copy or DVD. Then it will take about a week. Meanwhile, I am so grateful for this city service that films not only government meetings, but community events!

February 8

Our regular Wednesday evening Community Dinner —

— attracted about two dozen people, three of whom I have never met before. Two were dressed extravagantly!

Here’s Joe, who says he’s in Bloomington to help spread peace, with meditation, chanting and Kirtan. Would have liked to talk with him longer. Hope he returns next week!

And here’s Sarah, whose coat I told her I wanted to steal. She’s Kat’s friend, and is very knowledgeable about herbs.

February 9:

Yesterday evening Dan, our resident alchemist, decided to start the process of fermenting the mead (honey wine), taking up a collection from all the villagers for two half gallons of local honey ($67) to get it going. With Ari stirring, Dan gradually poured the honey onto the fruit (apples and pears). This “primary fermentation” will take about two weeks, he says, until the mold covers the fruit enough and the bubbling dies down. Then comes the second fermentation process, where he decants it into a giant glass jar, and it sits for at least six months. Homemade Mead Party for Halloween?

Logan’s guitar songs wound into the stirring.

Darn! Forgot to take pictures of the clean-up party for the Overhill back yard this morning, and the compost forking this afternoon.


Seeds are the New Currency!

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Green Acres Village: “Seeds are the new currency!”

This morning I was sitting in my fabulous crone chair when housemate Dan walked in the kitchen from outside. He’d been turning the compost. Says that “for the first time this winter, it’s now steaming!” I asked him why. “I think it’s because I switched from adding manure to adding leaves. The manure just decomposes too quickly.”

Meanwhile, I walked over to the DeKist house this morning, to photograph a seed sharing party in progress.

That’s Rebecca, Brie, Ari, Bryn, and Duncan, left to right. Bryn’s holding what I thought at first was dollar bills, but then discovered they were seed packets. That’s when she laughed, said that seeds are the new currency!

Meanwhile, Rebecca and Brie, the co-founders of our CSA in 2016, are going to be working with Bryn and Duncan on a joint project to cooperatively farm a 5000 square plot on Duncan’s mother’s rural land, about 20 minutes away. Permaculture spreads slowly, like mycelium, knitting us to each other and to the earth. We live and work under the radar of the unraveling cultural chaos to regenerate land, hearts, the soul of this beautiful world.

BTW: here’s the book that Rebecca says was her Bible when she started as an organic farmer, back in the early ’90s.

Rebecca’s going to get me a list of experienced organic farmers in this area that might be available to help young permaculture graduates move from theoretical knowledge of how systems work to the actual hands’ on experience needed to do permaculture. First, we’ll need to bring these farmers up to speed with permaculture. But as Rebecca states, it’s much easier for an organic farmer to pick up the systems thinking of permaculture than it is for a new permaculture graduate to gather the detailed seasoning and experience that comes from farming organically over many years.