From our Education & Public Programs department, an evolving guidebook navigating the expanded terrain of art and creative life.
Pardon our silence. It hasn’t been for lack of action but rather due to far too many tasks to be accomplished out in the real world away from the computer. Foraging Circle: The July heat kicked everything into high gear and Foraging Circle is beginning to live up to its name. Raspberries have ripened, Calendula […]
Pardon our silence. It hasn’t been for lack of action but rather due to far too many tasks to be accomplished out in the real world away from the computer.
The July heat kicked everything into high gear and Foraging Circle is beginning to live up to its name. Raspberries have ripened, Calendula seeds have been saved, Feverfew continues to bloom, and there is a Sunflower taller than Fritz. As plants fill in and grow up, hunting and gathering has become more of a challenge and, frankly, much more fun!
Although I can personally confirm that the only thing used in the soil at Edible Estates was high quality compost, you might believe otherwise after walking around a bit. Everything is taller, lusher, and, quite possibly, happier in the Woodbury Edible Estate than in any other garden I have seen around town. As the wide variety of veggies we recieved as donations have matured, some fascinating discoveries have been made. Do you know how beautiful Purple Cauliflower is? How about Purple Brussels Sprouts? Have you ever thought of exchanging your chewing gum for a leaf of Lavendar Hyssop? Do you have juicy, ripe Fall Gold Raspberries to pick? You are not the only one drooling on your keyboard right now. Keep your eye out for a feature on KARE 11 and an update in next week’s Star Tribune.
Our domestic work reach full speed with Fritz’s arrival this past week. We were fully prepared: we gathered over 300 pounds of discarded fabric for the rug-making; we sourced baskets and jars and vessels galore to hold all of the goodies; and we organized a small army of volunteers to join us in Cargill Lounge to help Fritz crochet the Walker Art Center portion of the rug. Our planning and hording did not go to waste. After a week of traipsing around threads of fabric and eating our weight in bread and jam, the rug is complete and ready to be moved into the exhibition gallery. We couldn’t be more pleased with the process and with the product. Come on over, take your shoes off, and take a little stroll; you will never believe how plush this rug feels!
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, […]
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!
We are beginning to settle down a bit now that the gardens have been completely installed, the rain has been easing our watering duties, and the plants seem to be making themselves at home in their respective places. All of us in the Education and Community Programs Department have now taken a collective deep breath and […]
We are beginning to settle down a bit now that the gardens have been completely installed, the rain has been easing our watering duties, and the plants seem to be making themselves at home in their respective places. All of us in the Education and Community Programs Department have now taken a collective deep breath and are ready to move forward with preparations for the gallery installation beginning at the end of the month.
In an effort to keep everyone abreast on what is happening within the three portions of Fritz Haeg’s residency — Foraging Circle, Edible Estate #15, and the exhibition featuring Domestic Integrities A05 — we have decided to do a weekly report on the ongoing efforts of At Home in the City. The At Home in the City rockstar intern team has also started a Tumblr of their own to keep a record of their activities related to the residency. Please visit The 5-H Club to see what they are up to!
Weekly Diary: July 2
Foraging Circle: Last week the first of the perennials blooms emerged. Early Sunflower (Helianthus helianthoides) and a surprise Mexican Red Hat (Ratibida columnifera) as well as Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) and Borage (Borago officinalis) – technically self-seeding annuals – were the first to show their colors. While Early Sunflower and Mexican Red Hat are useful for attracting pollinators and the seed heads are great food for birds, Feverfew and Borage have uses within the home. Fewerfew is most well-known for its ability to help with migraine headaches. The flowers of the Borage plant can be candied and used in desserts. Borage leaves can also be eaten in salads when young or mature ones can be boiled and eaten as sauteed greens. If you want to read more about the plants in Foraging Circle, please check out Foraging Circle Field Guide.
Feverfew and Early Sunflower in bloom. Photo by Anna Bierbrauer.
Edible Estate #15: The Schoenherrs are keeping busy in their garden – both with the work it takes to upkeep such a large edible garden as well as with hosting friends and family in the space. Being the industrious folks that they are, they initiated Wednesday Pizza Nights where neighbors can join them for a few garden tasks and be rewarded fresh produce and fresh pizza at the end of the night. Last week they also hosted a friend for a talk on the medicinal power of herbs complete with a herbal tea infusion tasting. Find out more about how they are adjusting to owning an Edible Estate at their blog.
Brassicas are doing well. Photo by Andrea Schoenherr.
Domestic Integrities A05: We have been busy sourcing furniture and materials for the gallery exhibition. Fritz had a brief layover in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon and spent most of it looking for furniture at Piccadilly Prairie. We are also in constant pursuit of old clothing and fabric so rug weaving can begin on July 30th. If you want to clean out your fabric bin or have some clothing to donate please let Ashley Duffalo (email@example.com) know. One of the largest pieces of the exhibit is going to be an aerial image of the Twin Cities metro on a wall measuring 13′ tall by 33′ wide. Not surprisingly, sourcing data with a high enough resolution hasn’t been easy but I dove into the world of ArcGIS and have had lots of help from the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office and the Community GIS Program at CURA.
The extent of the aerial image for the gallery wall. Image from Google Maps.
More to come next week!
The land cover in the outer Twin Cities has changed drastically in the last 20 years: areas that were once farms became the booming suburbs of Maple Grove, Chaska, and Woodbury. Urbanites often like to think they are the progressive, community-focused tenants while their space-loving suburban counterparts hide behind their privacy fences; but, Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estate […]
The land cover in the outer Twin Cities has changed drastically in the last 20 years: areas that were once farms became the booming suburbs of Maple Grove, Chaska, and Woodbury. Urbanites often like to think they are the progressive, community-focused tenants while their space-loving suburban counterparts hide behind their privacy fences; but, Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estate #15 seeks to turn that notion on its head. “The projects I’m most interested in,” he said in recent interview, “are the ones that exist in this fantastic, ideal notion of what the city I want to live in looks like—creating some small piece of that and putting it into the least likely part of the city to see that contrast between the city we want and the city we have.”
After a Twin Cities–wide call to find the right family, 100 applications, and 10 interviews, Haeg found the perfect suburb-dwelling family: the Schoenherrs. They garden, they make bread, they wanted to have a place to grow their community connections, and they had a huge front yard. But finding the right family in the right place was just the beginning. How, in fact, does one actually execute the transformation from prized front lawn to productive edible garden?
How does this…
Over Memorial Day Weekend, more than 75 volunteers — in combination with the Schoenherr Family, Walker staff, and Fritz Haeg — worked tirelessly to convert 4,500 sq feet lawn into an edible garden as part of Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City. The process involved one sod cutter, two trips to the landscape dump, 17 bags of leaf litter mulch, 30 yards of compost, 40 shovels, a wood chipper, thousands of plants, and one very skilled laborer, Stan the Boyfriend.
First we started with Fritz’s design diagram…
…then we added in a cohort of eager volunteers…
…and finally we laid out the beds and started digging!
Hardscaping materials included stumps and rocks scavenged from the local landscaping dump, a fallen willow from a neighbor’s yard, and rock reused from previous landscaping in the yard.
Then we left the heavy lifting to the hardest workers…
…and moved 30 yards of compost into place.
With the table terrace fully in place, the first plants went in early Sunday morning.
Strawbale gardens started by the Scheonherr family became a teaching tool incorporated into the kids’ garden.
Planting was the easiest part of the process and left plenty of room for chatting.
With everything planted, mulching and watering were the last tasks to complete.
After the hard work was done, we fired up the brick oven and celebrated with a pizza party.
Tired bodies were complemented by a great sense of satisfaction and a celebratory christening of Edible Estate #15.
This family is ready to break down stereotypes about life in the suburbs. Don’t you want to join them for their weekly community “Pizza Night in the Garden”?
John, Andrea, Catherine, and Aaron Schoenherr. All photos by Alison Malone.
Dear Twin Cities, I grew up in your suburbs and am returning this spring to plant the last in the series of Edible Estate Regional Prototype Gardens commissioned by the Walker Art Center. Today we begin the search for a site with an open call. Edible Estates brings visible food production to cities, working with […]
Dear Twin Cities,
I grew up in your suburbs and am returning this spring to plant the last in the series of Edible Estate Regional Prototype Gardens commissioned by the Walker Art Center. Today we begin the search for a site with an open call.
Edible Estates brings visible food production to cities, working with families around the world to create diverse organic productive pleasure gardens out their front door. It was initiated on Independence Day 2005 with the planting of the first garden in Salina, Kansas, the geographic center of the United States. Since then others have been planted in Budapest, Istanbul, Rome, Ridgefield (CT), Manhattan, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Austin, London, Maplewood (NJ), and Lakewood, (CA), plus Holon, Isreal and Aarhus, Denmark coming later this spring. Prototype garden locations are selected for maximum impact, visibility and influence, providing a vivid contrast with surrounding landscapes of suburban lawns and inner-city concrete.
The design and planting list will be developed in collaboration with the owners. Materials and expenses for the first season of growing will be provided, but the household(s) commit to continuing the garden indefinitely. We will remove the entire front lawn and plant during May 2013 with local volunteers.
The garden will be documented through the first season in a journal by the owners, weekly photos and a video by the artist to be featured in the fall exhibition at the Walker Art Center opening August 8, 2013, and a chapter in the expanded third edition of Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn (Metropolis Books, 2010) to be released late 2013.
Here are the guidelines for the ideal garden site:
• The NEIGHBORHOOD should be in an outer suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul where lawns rule and residents wouldn’t otherwise consider publicly growing food, ideally at the moment where housing development meets farmland.
• The RESIDENCE should be a typical or common local living situation opening on to the front yard with windows or doors. We would be particularly interested in a duplex or multi-unit complex where several households share a surrounding open lawn.
• Estate OWNERS should include at least one avid gardener, be enthusiastic about the project while aware of the amount of work it will involve, committed to continuing the garden as long as they are in the house, and eager to share stories about the project, including a regular journal through the first growing season.
• The FRONT LAWN should be flat, pesticide free, with good sun exposure, few large trees or major landscaping, and very visible from the street with regular traffic. It should ideally be surrounded by other front lawns where a disruption would be dramatic.
Email me with questions or submissions, which should include:
• Images of your street, front lawn, home and family
• A brief statement about why you are interested
• Your complete address, contact information and full name
For press inquiries please contact Rachel Joyce at rachel.joyce(AT)walkerart(DOT)org
See you in the Spring,
For more on the project, read “Gardening Between Hope and Doom: Fritz Haeg on Edible Estates”