Posts tagged ‘Green Zone Garden’

Red carpet goes green

On Superbowl Oscar nite, pay attention to the Documentary Feature category. One of the five nominees is “The Garden” (director Scott Michael Kennedy) which follows the story of a community garden in South Central Los Angeles. The garden was established on 14-acres of city-owned landin the aftermath of the 1992 LA riots. It claims to be the largest community garden in the United States.* When the land was sold to a private developer in 2003, local citizens**, many of them Latino immigrants, rallied to protect the garden.

Wouldn’t it be great if this movie came to Rhode Island? Root for it on Oscar nite, tell your chums “in the Academy” to vote for it, and check out the movie website and gardeners’ website.

And, stay tuned for Green Zone the movie later in 2009. Synopsis: Matt Damon visits a certain Providence garden and eats some kale. Or in THEIR version, Matt Damon plays a warrant officer who helps a senior CIA officer searching for Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

*Don’t get me started on talking about all the acres of community gardens in Rhode Island during World War I. Maybe there wasn’t one single 14-acre plot (THOUGH MAYBE THERE WAS), but, for example, Brown & Sharpe oversaw 30 acres of gardens in Providence’s Smith Hill neighborhood in 1917. Let’s just say that this LA garden is very very large.

**plus Dennis Kucinich, Willie Nelson, and other celebs.


February 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Botanical bailout

gabbard1Found this illustration by Justin Gabbard in the New York Times letters-to-the-editor last month. It accompanies letters on “Playing Politics With the Auto Bailout.” See here for a better view. Plants in tires takes on a new resonance.

A bunch of people have asked if I will replant the Green Zone garden at Firehouse 13 in 2009. Unlikely. I intended for the garden to last for the season, so I could move on to research and presentations.080730greenzone051

That said…I bet that Firehouse 13 will develop another garden this year. Jarrett, FH13’s director, grows veg in a West Side community garden, so he’s got green thumbs. And we know that the sun shines on Central Street.

I wonder if the firemen of the former Good Will Engine Company ever planted a garden. Firemen are amazing cooks. Are they also great gardeners?

January 31, 2009 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Seed you next year

Over at Green Zone for the first time in weeks to collect some seeds for next year. Firehouse 13 is thinking about building a bigger garden along the parking lot and perhaps taking over the lawn. Good riddance, grass! I figured I’d give them a headstart by saving them some seeds from Green Zone.

If you’re local, go over to Firehouse 13 and help yourself to some seeds: (clockwise from top left) dill, morning glories, bachelor’s button, and for those of you who are farsighted, scarlet runner beans!!!  Just wait until the morning glory husks and/or runner bean pods look brown and dry. Go ahead and snack too. Pick all the basil and make yourself some pesto. Pick all the kale and cook it up. Go for it! Frost is coming soon.

Saving seeds is kind of like sending a letter to the future. Today, I filled some seed envelopes for Firehouse 13 and sealed them shut. In just a couple months, the days will start getting longer. And in a couple months after that, it will be time to open the envelopes and plant some dill, morning glories, bachelor’s button, and scarlet runner beans.

Dear future,

Wish you were here.

xoxo, Green Zone

October 9, 2008 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

Out of the garden, into the frying pan

Green Zone has been slacking transitioning. As September winds down, I’ve slowed down on tending the garden and blog. I cooked up Green Zone’s kale and beet greens with a whole lot of garlic and oil for the Firehouse 13 potluck. How’s that for closure?

I still have some seed gathering to do: morning glories, bachelor’s button, dill, and black-and-pink scarlet runner bean beans. If you can get to Providence for a pickup, I’d be glad to set aside some Green Zone seeds for you!

Now, I’ve got to hit the books, looking for information on Rhode Island’s history of war gardens, liberty gardens, victory gardens, community gardens, school gardens, allotment gardens.  If you’re familiar with an example in RI, please let me know. Is it true that there’s a guy who still tends his WWII-era Victory Garden in Bristol?  Did your parents garden at school, or did your grandmother volunteer on a farm during during the war? Did you tune out during the Vietnam War and go back to the land?

I’ll share bits and pieces from my research as it progresses, and I’ll continue to blog sporadically about gardens I encounter. Doesn’t this look like an installation artist’s work on Parcel 12 (“triangle parcel” at Exchange St.)? A cluster of mossy bumps amidst the seven grassy hills (or was it six)? Actually it’s a bunch of those gorgeous Downtown flower and vine baskets dumped on the ground.

September 30, 2008 at 2:15 pm 2 comments


Thanks to everyone who showed up for Green Drinks on Thursday. I enjoyed hanging out at Green Zone to talk gardens, consumption, and war with a bunch of gardeners, activists, greenies, bloggers, and friends.

One of the people I met is studying the economic value of community gardens. If you’ve visited the community garden outside Brown University’s Urban Environmental Lab this summer, you’ve seen the  signs stating that an experiment is in progress. Grad student Marie-Laure Couet weighing the carrots, counting the lettuce leaves, and tallying it all up. If you’ve seen your grocery bills go down in the summer as your community garden thrives, contact Marie-Laure.

This morning, I picked some beans, kale, and beet greens for the upcoming Firehouse 13 potluck. There’s still more to graze on in Green Zone, but it was time to do some serious harvesting. And that means serious eating tomorrow.

September 22, 2008 at 7:43 am Leave a comment

Green Drinks: plants crave Pabst

I stopped by Green Zone this afternoon to discover the aftermath of drunken revelry. The plants had downed a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and left the evidence strewn about. I have used PBR in my home garden to drown slugs, but who knew that the plants were sots for it, too?

Thankfully, Firehouse 13 will be serving up Narragansetts at Providence Green Drinks. That’s Thursday, from 5pm to 8pm, people. There will be non-alcoholic alternatives as well. Drinks are for sale; snacks are sponsored by me and my buddy Eva of Glasswing Design. NO PABST WILL BE SERVED.

And so as to avoid ending this post with the word or the taste of Pabst, here’s a little something from the Ladies Aid Society of Arnsville (probably Barnesville), Ohio. researching ladies aid groups and the U.S. Sanitary Commission will get me started on Civil War gardens. In their 1862-63 report, the B/Arnsville ladies called out:

Come then and help us. There is a great call upon everyone to aid in this great work. There is a great call for vegetables. Will you give them? Let every family form themselves into companies and pick and dry fruits. They call for dried fruits rather then canned. See to it that there are pickles prepared to send in abundance and you who have friends or sons in the Army, will you not pick out your longest row of potatoes and cultivate them nicely and when ripe, dig them and send to the Sanitary Commission. Or any other vegetables, you may have, will be acceptable. Bring them on, we will send them for you. Any contributions can be left at Mr. A.B. Glazer’s store so they will go safely and you will have no expense. Will you help us and prove that it is more blessed to give then to receive.!!!

September 16, 2008 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

On the verge

Green Zone is teetering on the verge.

The garden is slowly shutting down as bugs and autumn and rootyness take over. I’m aiming to keep the plants alive through September. Green Drinks (on Sept. 18, be there!) will be a closing reception for the garden. Firehouse 13 is thinking about installing a bigger and brawnier garden next year, possibly with tires, so I’m leaving the Green Zone eight behind. Soil will be dumped back in my compost bin–or maybe at a new compost at Firehouse–and I’ll take the shopping bags to the store for recycling. I think the shoes will walk home with me for future planting.

The end of the September will also mark a new direction for the blog. RI Council for the Humanities gave me a grant to pursue research on the history of Rhode Island’s wartime gardens. Thank you, RICH! This will give me a chance to follow the leads I’ve found so far…30 acres of War Gardens at Brown and Sharpe, a guy in Bristol who still tends his WWII-era Victory Garden, local garden clubs who coordinated activities during the wars, etc. I’ll use the blog to post updates from my research.

As part of the public outreach for the grant project, I’ll organize a discussion panel to present my research and some other points of view on victory gardens. Look out for that next spring.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the verge…just like this pink and orange zinnia-filled verge on Doyle Avenue

September 9, 2008 at 8:20 pm 4 comments

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