We aren’t quite sure if the sweat on our brow is due more to the weather or more to the workload, but arms are sore and minds are tired after a very busy week at the Walker Art Center last week. Granted, we all took a day off to celebrate our nation’s independence on Thursday, but we made up for it by spending Saturday in the Sculpture Garden for Free First Saturday. In spite of the exhaustion, we spent Sunday celebrating. Thanks to a fantastic group of interns and featured guests the day was a huge success with over 4,000 visitors. This week’s At Home in the City Weekly Diary reflects our singular focus on programming last week.
Free First Saturday: Urban Green
The bulk of the activity at Free First Saturday focused around Foraging Circle – the role it plays ecologically, theorectically, and spatially. Building off of Fritz’s work, July’s Free First Saturday examined how we can better nurture our city’s ecological and cultural ecosystem. The “Urban Green” event featured Guerilla Gardening, Mini Worm Composting Bins, Native Bee Houses, a DIY Resource Fair, and performances by Homegrown HipHop.
We wanted to encourage kids to bring some ‘tended wilderness’ back to their urban environment. What better way then to let them squish some clay, mix up some dirt and seeds, and mold them into Seed Bombs? No surprise, kids were more than eager to become Guerilla Gardeners. If you start to notice patches of sunflowers throughout the city, thank a kid with dirt under his or her fingernails.
Food waste is a familiar topic if you are a kid (or rather a parent), but arguing the finer points of the Food Waste Challenge is most likely lost on small ears. This is where worms come to the rescue. Small compostable coffee cups, a little dirt, a few food scraps, and a fingerful of worms were enough to show how worm composting functions and the role it plays in combatting food waste. Although it is difficult to explain to kids the importance of composting when they are elbow deep in red wrigglers, an introduction to the concept hopefully got a few of them (and their parents!) excited enough to turn their mini-bins into full scale home composting systems.
Bees are a popular topic these days: bee keeping classes, bees on City Hall, and the bee crisis are in the news on a regular basis. For being such small creatures, they play a humongous role in our food supply. Supporting honeybee populations by letting your dandelions bloom, planting pollinator-attracting plants, or keeping your own apiary is one way to help combat the problem. A more rarely heard technique is providing support to native bee populations. Beez Kneez, the Xerxes Society, and the UMN were on hand on Saturday to give us a closer look at both native and honeybee needs and behavior and help us provide a home for native bees in our yards.
The DIY Resource Fair was made up of a great group of organizations all supporting individual and community actions that lessen our impact on the environment and improve our relationship with the ecological world – whether it be by decreasing our storm water runoff, improving our local food policies, providing veggie growing advice, advocating for sharing our edible bounties, offering community gardening programming, or teaching us how to clean a little greener. Between Metro Booms, Homegrown Minneapolis, Gardens of Eagan, the Garden Gleaning Project, Gardening Matters, and the Mississippi River Green Team no one left without at least one or two new ideas.
Foraging Circle itself hosted Katie Bachler. Katie has been gathering stories and maps of home from visitors to the Walker. On Saturday she interviewed guests about what home means to them, asked for them to draw a map of their home and community, and served freshly steeped sun tea.
Throughout day we noticed a little bounce in everyone’s step. Although it may have been because everyone was so excited, most likely it was due to the great beats by DJ Los Boogies and the inspiring moves by Homegrown Hip Hop. Twice during the day, hip hop dancers graced the stage with their moves, kids danced freely to the music, urban artists worked their magic, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden vibrated in rhythm. Homegrown Hip Hop empowers youth through urban arts and dance; the audience was convinced of their positive impact on our cultural ecosystem.
Thank you to everyone who participated, attended, and organized; we loved activating and utilizing the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with you!