Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mountain comes to Merriwether

About a year ago assorted powerful members of the Houston city council began talking to each other and discovered they are all very concerned about what is happening in the world. One fear in particular was shared by all of them, "What happens if fuel prices sky rocket making it impossible to ship food to Houston?". Based on this fear they quietly began building a Food Security Program for Houston. The goal of this program is to convert unused/empty urban wastelands into prolific food gardens to help feed Houstonians in the event of economic (or other) disaster. The council locates owners of these waste properties and works a deal with them to allow the creation of these gardens. Response from the initial property owners contacted has been very positive.

However, the city council realized even if every plot of unused land in Houston was turned into a garden it still wouldn't be enough to feed the city. They needed to utilize every source of food available to combat the famine they fear is fast approaching.

I learned all this as I stood in the rain Saturday morning talking to Joe, the founder of the LOO (Last Organic Outpost) down in Houston's 5th Ward. I've written of this place earlier, but at that time I didn't know the whole story of what was going on.

I had gone to the LOO this last Saturday to discuss building some demonstration beds of edible weeds and other wild plants available in Houston and to also create complete permaculture food forests along the borders of their farm. I had briefly talked to Joe about it a few weeks ago but this was his first real in-depth meeting about it with me.

But it wasn't his first meeting about it with other very important people and they agreed, they want me to build wild edibles demonstration beds out at the LOO.

And they want me to build similar beds throughout Houston.
And they want me to teach all of Houston about finding/utilizing edible wild plants.
And they want me to create permaculture food forests throughout Houston.

They want me to help prepare Houston for the future.

I'm still in shock. Both that the Powers That Be in Houston are actively trying to prepare the city for potential hard times and also that they want me involved is such an enormous project...

Of course this means my days of being a carefree adventurer are rapidly coming to an end...but in return I get to try and change the world. It's a fair trade.

Adventure! Excitement! To Be Continued!

6 comments:

Izzy G. said...

I suspect this is going to be one of those things that they prepare for and spend a lot of time on, but never get to use. At least I hope a situation never arises that would require an entire city to live off wild edibles. It's one of those situations like a zombie outbreak. You secretly want it to happen so you can fortify your house and not look like a lunatic.

It's a big deal, though. Big kudos to you. Remember me when you're famous.

Jackie said...

Wow! I am impressed! Please keep me in mind for a position when you end up heading an official Department of Urban Agriculture! Congrats!

Wayne D. said...

That is pretty cool. I think it would be a harder project to pull off here in the Phoenix area. Just not enough water.

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Bramble said...

This is the height of cool! Hou City Council should think of collaborating with outlying areas where there are fewer folks per acre (by far) and persons with similar interests (oh, say, me). Cutting us in on the deal would barely make a dent compared to the numbers of people in urban areas of Houston.

Mike_H said...

What an incredible opportunity and honor!