NeWER X Tremont Farmers Market
NeWER X Tremont Farmers Market
Pre- Order T-shirts now by emailing your size and which style you choose to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These limited edition prints will be available soon!
It’s been a long 6 weeks for the SCE Team. Plugging our way through research and writing, a good portion of the Business Plan for the Food Co-op has been written. As I compiled together the bits and pieces we’ve written from our endless Google docs and email exchanges, I felt a sense of accomplishment looking at all our work composed into one organized document. The next steps involve further research and reaching out to our partners to obtain more specific data to fine tune our briefs for a complete business plan by the end of the summer.
The SCE Team in all their glory (Top to Bottom: Zain, Natalia, then Matt)
In our time at NeWER Approaches, we have learned a lot about history, social and economic situation in the local communites. All of this was to help inform us in our interaction with community members. After charging through the business plan in the past six weeks, we are now ready to get out of the freezing coffee shops and talk to members of the community first-hand! For the coming weeks we will be putting together a proper outreach plan to reach out effectively and graciously. I’m excited to get out there and make new connections in the community!
This week we started working with Rocky and some of the youth at Merrick House. Our goal is to create a site installation in Lincoln Park for the Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival that will attract around 20,000 (wow) visitors to the neighborhood. The installation will both attract these people to Merrick’s area in the park, and help raise money through the sale of different artists contributions. So far this week we’ve been brainstorming with the young workers at Merrick.
A photo of Lincoln Park during last year’s Arts and Cultural Festival
Tuesday we decided to make a GIGANTIC collage that will be stretched between two trees. The collage will represent Merrick and the young people who work with us–so we asked them to bring in images, items, artwork and pictures that represent who they are. The second element of the site is a tree, on top of a little raised hill in the park, made out of cardboard piping and other materials. The tree would host smaller ornaments for sale to raise money. Another Merrick employee, Stacia, is helping us contact local artists who might be willing to create and donate an ornament to place on the tree and sell to visitors.
A sketch of the placement of the collage by Pat.
Initially the youth were quiet and reserved, and seemed a little bored, but have opened up a little since, are fun, goofy and engaged. Rocky said today that it matters less to him how many ornaments they end up selling, than how much the youth working start to understand the nature of the project; how to plan and design and creatively think. I’m looking forward to getting to know the youth better and constructing the tree, to see the things they put in their collage to express who they are. I’m optimistic and really excited to start!
A sketch of the conceptual area proposed by the Merrick Youth Program Participants and Re:Action team members.
The City Fresh has been keeping my refrigerator stocked with fresh produce. It’s great! I’ve been getting all the fruit and veggies that I love pick fresh. But we CSA shareholders have also been on the receiving end of some rather unfamiliar plants as well, and kohlrabi has me stumped. Also known as a german turnip it is giant I must tackle, a riddle I must ponder. I’ve had person after person tell me that they love the cabbage cultivar, but I’m yet to see past the tough flesh and bland flavor. Owen, a City Fresh shareholder and volunteer offered his insight into the Kashmiri national vegetable. And the German apple, kohlrabi soup does sound delightful. There are also some pretty cool ideas from the country of Kashmir. Kohlrabi is very common in Kashmiri cuisine. They call it monja and the leave they call hakh. But I am skeptical after a mediocre kohlrabi curry attempt.Erika and Pat man the first City Fresh pick up.
We continued our work at Gather Round this week, extending a raised bed. Kiki showed up just in time to help make the wall (her specialty). After a few wheel barrows full of dirt and some bales of chicken manured straw, the new garden space was looking good. To top of the morning of work, we began to construct a tepee-style trellis for pole beans and squash to climb. Bamboo shoots made the structure sturdy and we even could use tree bark to fasten them at the top. Permaculture is exciting. Who needs big box stores when you have the great outdoors? An increasing water bill when you have rain barrels to fill? A secluded suburban plot when you have old abandoned parking lot? Who cares if its black-top? The gardens will rise above. Right here in the city, people can easily see the food that they eat growing down the street from their residency. Strawberries from City Fresh.
NEO Restoration farm is doing well too. With the one and only crop of Jordanian Cucumbers in the city, and probably in the state and country. We worked on a trellis to allow the vines to grow up instead of over itself and squash plants its neighbor. The mint in the back of the plot may turn out to be a hit among mojito and julep mixing bars and restaurants down town. Delicious and refreshing. I’d go for the Julep. But to each their own cocktail, as long as the fresh green herbs swirling in the glass pushed themselves up through Cleveland soil.
Sign up for a City Fresh share at any of the 16 locations here.OR to volunteer to help out at the Clark-Metro location email email@example.com
During football season, Steelers fans all over the country show their Pittsburgh pride, displaying hats, t-shirts, and Steelers colors to demonstrate where their football loyalties lie. And among my college friends, several of whom are from the Pittsburgh area, Pittsburgh pride is often expressed loudly, excitedly, and even belligerently. So, what makes Pittsburghers so damn proud?
I’ve heard Pittsburgh compared to Cleveland because of the decline in both cities following the fall of the steel industry, but few Clevelanders are so proud of their hometown. Why does Pittsburgh get such love? I mean, sure, the Steelers are good, but would city pride come entirely from allegiance to a sports team? After spending a day in Pittsburgh with my friend Justine, I was able to hypothesize about why the city is so well-loved by its locals.
We began with a run in Schenley Park, where many Pittsburgh area runners race each year. The park is 456 acres and contains trails, open greenspace, meadows, a golf and disc golf course, a pool, and a variety of other recreational opportunities. Schenley proves the possibility and importance of large greenspace existing in a city setting.
Justine showed me Point State Park next, a historical and geological landmark. This park was named for its shape and geological placement, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge to form the Ohio River. This made it an ideal place for troops to set up camp, so the two historically significant forts of Duquesne and Pitt were located in what is now the state park.
Point State Park in Pittsburgh.
You can’t have a Pittsburgh experience without trying the “Almost Famous” Primanti Bros. sandwich, which includes coleslaw and French fries on the sandwich itself rather than on the side, so that was our next stop.
Another Pittsburgh landmark is the Cathedral of Learning, where we toured the 27 Nationality rooms. Each room represents, and was designed by, Pittsburghers of a particular nationality or ethnic background. The intricacy, detail, and intentionality of each piece in the rooms were impressive and seemed to reflect the pride of the international Pittsburgh community members.
Now, when I think of Pittsburgh I’ll think of Primanti Bros, two rivers converging into one, a beautiful Cathedral representing 27 nationalities, and a huge area of greenspace serving as a perfect place to run. It’s no wonder to me now that people love the city, though I’m sure many love it for entirely different reasons.
As a Clevelander with huge Cleveland pride, I consider it my job to show non-locals what Cleveland has to offer so that when they think of Cleveland they think of something other than a river that caught fire.
Luckily, my job this morning only involved holding the chickens as Meagan did all the dirty work. Seriously, dirty. The chickens at Gather Around have some sort of gastrointestinal problems, and we had the joy of working together to trim their tail feathers to ensure that their less-than-firm poop did not stick around and lead to infection, or worse, maggots.
Jon holding one of the chickens
For background, Gather Around is a CSA started by a local permaculture club. The space for the garden, a 1/2-acre blacktop lot, was donated to them by a friend, and the work they have done there is incredible. Apparently they began by dumping several truckloads of mulch on the plot and slowly carving paths into it as it decomposed, but you couldn’t tell now. It’s a veritable edible jungle with peas climbing up old swing sets, and squash beginning to take over a bamboo teepee erected to serve as their summer home.
Several years ago, after jumping through some legislative hoops, they managed to get permission to build a chicken coop that still stands. Many (myself included) might assume that chickens would be low maintenance birds- drop them some food and water on a regular basis and they’ll lay their speckled brown bounty for you- but they (and I) would be mistaken. As we clipped away feathers that might have attracted flies and maggots, I learned that keeping these chickens is no easy task. Apparently more than a few of these birds have needed trips to a doctor for everything from heart disease to broken toes. Nearly every ailment that a small child might come down with can afflict chickens as well.
Phil underneath a teepee they constructed the same day.Despite these misconceptions, I’ve got to say that it’s rewarding to see, care for, and live of off these animals. It takes time, but these birds are worth the effort. The straw laid down in their coop is collected regularly and turned into a powerful fertilizer, and during the spring months they lay enough eggs to feed a family of four breakfast every morning. Working at this plot is like taking a step back in time, and realizing what it means to make a food production operation truly full circle.
Part of a NeWER RE:Action project we’ve consistently been working on is our “tree” of community commentary. This has required a mild form of canvassing…approaching random passerby around Tremont and point blank asking them what they would like to see change in their neighborhoods. The idea is that people write ideas on paint swatches (graciously donated from Home Depot) and we arrange the final product, many, multicolored, diverse paint-swatch coments —into a flowery tree-form in the gallery, representing and informing viewers of the neighborhood residents hopes, dreams, dislikes and wishes.
Brenna with a Ziploc full of paint swatches.
This was a bit of a daunting task for me, but it’s been my favorite experience since I arrived at NeWER. I’ve talked to so many interesting people around Tremont who I otherwise would know nothing about had I not plainly, although indeed awkwardly, approached them. As soon as a person knows you’re not asking them for money , they seem to be more receptive; many people are even enthusiastic and grateful that there is someone looking to hear a voice in the community. People I’ve talked to have varied from business owners, to frequenters of Civilization, to folks hanging out daily in Lincoln park, to groups of day care kids on the playground. Not everyone is warm or overall positive, but I’ve had long conversations with many, people who would like to see positive things happen around the neighborhood; more fresh food, safe space, and public art. Hopefully these voices can continue to fuel and inform the art we create for the upcoming weeks.