Root Riot Urban Garden Network Update 6/22/10

Welcome to Summer!!!  Much has been happening around the network and in the spirit of community (A Root Riot core value)  we are going to be doing more network-wide updates.   Here are some of the goings on:


Thank you to everyone who came out to the workday on Madison Avenue this past Saturday.  A great deal of progress was made in finalizing the last few beds as well as creating a table top bed for people who are less mobile and we built a lockable tool shed.   We also got word that we will be acquiring a large number of 2×2 paving stones to help keep mud to a minimum at the water cistern.


Three weeks ago, we never would have guessed that it could happen so fast, but this past weekend finished installing the fence around Harambee this weekend.   We have basically enclosed the north half of the lot and the people that have been out and seen it really like it and the feeling that it creates. 



We will be meeting out at the Harambee garden this Sunday (6/27) at 2:30 pm.  We are going to find a way to plant sunflowers and some of the remaining seedlings that we have been given around the outside of the fence.  We are also going to put up a top on the tent frame so that we have shade during the summer.  If time permits we will also be having a design conversation about a possible, covered stage area at the location.


The date has been set for a dedication event at the Root Riot Harambe location.  It is going to be on July 10th and is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our accomplishment and who and what we are with the Village of Oak Park.  We expect that quite a number of village leaders will be in attendance including Oak Park Mayor David Pope.  We really do request that people from both locations plan on being at this event because the accomplishment belongs to all of us.   We are also in the process of setting a date for a similar event at the Harambee Location.


This is going to be a network wide celebration at the end of the summer.  It will be an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments with each other as well as the Austin/OP communities as a whole. The general discussion now is that either of weekends following the start of school would be good. Harvest moon is Sept 8th a Wednesday. (Thanks Sally Simmel!)



LETTING PEOPLE KNOW WHAT WE NEED. We are now actively seeking donations from businesses and other organizations for communal property at the garden locations. We need tools such as shovels, rakes, garden trowels, cordless drills, a bagging lawn mower and others that can become property of the gardens.    Please take a moment and look at the kinds of things that you would like to see present at your local garden location and email  with your suggestions.  We will be adding these things to the lists of items we bring to different potential donors.  



The website has been re-designed and now has tons of resources to support you in getting the most out of your garden beds.  Also, you can now subscribe by email to get updates all the latest news.  You  will be include what is happening on all of the  educational tracks at each location, our film series, workdays and other opportunities.   I encourage you to subscribe and to help spread the word.  


Peter Jaffee Notier has now done a number of classes to support people in getting up and running with their gardens.  In particular, this weekend, he accepted our request to come over to Harambee and teach the young men from the Youth Guidance program how to set up their beds.   They did work to amend their soil and planted tomatoes, peppers, beans and carrots.


In the coming weeks the students from the Harambee team will be doing outreach at the Oak Park Farmers Market to create greater awareness about our  film series and greater awareness of Root Riot and all of the things that are happening around the network.  When you see them out there be sure to encourage them and thank them.


We are currently working out dates to take a field trip out to Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Living. ( This promises to be a very powerful experience for old and young alike.   There will be many activities for people to participate in.  From sustainable gardening to living off the grid to re-thinking the economics of food production, it will be a very fun and illuminating trip.



If you want to learn more about the kinds of things that people are doing to the founder of Growing Power in Milwaukee ( , Will Allen will be speaking at  Fourth Presbyterian Church on Thursday June 24th at 7:00PM.  This is an great opportunity to meet one of the people who has been a huge inspiration to Root Riot and a great model for what we can do.


Fourth Presbyterian Church
126 E. Chestnut Street
Chicago, IL 60611


The Root-Riot learning and education team headed by Louise and Sandra are seeking folks that will work with Root-Rioters to plant plants, seed seeds, and generally get started and then keep growing strong. Please write if you can volunteer.



The real magic and power of what is happening in Root Riot is in the human connections that are being made.  If you have not taken the opportunity to visit one of the other Root Riot locations, we strongly encourage you to do so.   Both Madison and Harambee are growing and evolving in unique ways and coming out to visit to other locations promises to be a source of inspiration new ideas for you.


See you in the Gardens!!

Seamus Ford
Co-Founder Root Riot Urban Garden Network


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