Saturday, June 13, 2015

How to build community - A Little Orchard

I have the coolest neighbors on the coolest block in Madison.

Before Jay and I bought our house on Mifflin Street, I knew I wanted to install a Little Free Library in the front yard of our future home. During the first spring at our new house, Marilou, our neighbor across the street, let the block know she was planning to build one. Little Free Library (charter #2805) AWESOME!

That same summer, Rachel, our neighbor down the street installed a Little Gallery in her front yard, featuring small installations of locally created art. Rachel works with artists on monthly rotating exhibits.

This spring, our next door neighbors (and chicken co-parents) Matt and Marisa announced a kickstarter for a Little Free Museum to be installed in their front yard and feature small science and technology exhibits. There is a nice article about the project in Madison's Isthmus newspaper.

[NOTE: stop by for the June 11, 3 p.m. grand opening]

These kinds of projects remind me that community building doesn't have to take place in a community center, doesn't need a folk singer in a park or any other massive installation, intervention or investment. These slow foot traffic (and even some car traffic from what I've observed), encourage conversations and inspire inventiveness. Matt and Marisa were inspired by the gallery. And I'm inspired by them.

During our first spring at our new home we installed a front yard orchard. I've always had the vision to install a sign to explain the trees, shrubs and flowers, and point out the mostly hidden but very effective water harvesting system in place. Marilou, Rachel and Matt and Marissa have inspired me to design and install that sign.

My goal is to show people that permaculture design can be practical and beautiful, inspire people to plant perennial food crops and design yards to collect and store water in their yards.

I look forward to showing you what it looks like.