Remember the story from last year about a Michigan woman who was actually facing jail time for turning her front yard into a food garden? Or the Los Angeles man who had a legal tussle with city government over growing food in the parkway in front of his home? Those cases have been settled, but new ones continue to pop up as individuals decide that they want to get rid of their front lawns, and replace them with gardens.
You read that right, coastal types – we’ve got something new and cool going on here in flyover country. Yesterday, in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, the creators of the first US home built to Active House standards broke ground for construction. Representatives of builders Hibbs Homes and Verdatek Solutions, architect Jeff Day & Associates, and the European Active House Alliance all showed up to don hard hats, turn a little dirt for the cameras, and share this concept for homebuilding.
You can certainly be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Rutledge, Missouri. The Mennonite town of about a hundred people is miles from anything resembling a major highway, and surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland in Northeastern Missouri (though it’s kind of famous for its flea market, I hear). Despite being tucked away in a pretty conservative part of the state, you might call Rutledge the hub of a (relatively) quiet revolution: three alternative communities, all with an ecological bent, have been founded (and are running just fine) within 1-2 miles of the town in the last 40 years…
Gardens get kind of a bad rap in Abrahamic mythology: just think Eden or Gethsemene. Despite those narratives, Catholic and Jewish congregations in Columbia, Missouri (the college town in the state) have found that gardening together allows them to not only demonstrate their commitments to creation, care and serving the needy, but to also build bridges between people of different faiths.
The Interfaith Care for Creation Garden Project traces its roots back to 2006, when an interfaith couple new to the area who wanted to get their children involved in volunteer projects. Fallow farmland behind Congregation Beth Shalom provided the perfect space for the effort; When founder Mary Beth Litofsky injured her back in 2009, the new Interfaith Care for Creation group (a project of the Columbia Climate Change Coalition) took over. The St. Thomas More Newman Center organized volunteers, and, all together, the effort produced 550 pounds of food – all of which went to local food pantries and kitchens that feed the needy.
Yep, it’s time of year again… Earth Day is just a few days away. What actions do you have planned to decrease your environmental footprint? The Conservation Fund has an idea: plant a tree. Its Go Zero campaign is working “to acquire land on behalf of national and state parks or wildlife refuges and to…
If you’ve had a chance to check out HIGH LINE STORIES, you’ve seen how a group of creative people devoted to their community can turn blight into beauty.
Missouri’s Katy Trail is one of the crown jewels of US “rails to trails” projects. Running from Clinton (about 75 miles from Kansas City) to St. Charles (about 25 miles from St. Louis), the Katy Trail follows both the old MKT railroad line, and, in part, Lewis and Clark’s path along the Missouri River.
Like the High Line, the Katy Trail has not only provided reclaimed green space across the state, but also contributes to the economies of many of the small towns through which it passes. Towns such as Rocheport have revived themselves as tourist destinations, and numerous wineries have sprung up in close proximity to the trail. You could easily plan a biking and wine tasting trip of several days, with stops in Augusta, Hermann, Sedalia, and other small, picturesque communities.
Learn more about the Katy Trail…