From Poster to Post!

Playing around with the Birdhouses and Birdfeeders

It was a busy night this past Tuesday! Since it was the last working day of class, we had to get everything done and started to prepare the final presentation. During the first two hours of Tuesday’s class, our group combined everyone’s parts of the legacy report and did some minor editing and formatting in order to print the report on Wednesday.

After that, we began to finish up the work we left last Thursday—putting bird feeders and bird houses on the post. We punched holes on the sides and bottoms of the bird houses so that they could be screwed onto the post with ease. We went to the Ecohouse site; the concrete base was quite solid. Consequentially, it was time to put our bird houses and feeders against it and see how it would look. Rod gave us advice on how it is important to keep in mind the various angles one can examine the post from. Every angle represents a distinct meaning and focus of the post. At that point, we purchased more bird houses, and we attached them in various positions and angles in order to see how everything would fit together aesthetically. Moreover, we received a picture of a bird perched at the top of the post! Although we did not have enough time to attach the bird houses on permanently, we have left detailed plans in our legacy report on how everything will fit together. It will be a minor project for the next group of students to take on and should be completed within several days.

Mission Accomplished! That's a bird on top of the post...



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Hey Neighbour…what’s growing on?

Dr.Clinton Beckford and his garden behind the Ecohouse

As the Wildflower group has been working away in the garden the last few weeks over at the Ecohouse, so have our neighbours! Dr. Clinton Beckford, Associate Dean of the Faculy of Education, has started a vegetable garden in the backyard of the Ecohouse. We met up with him recently to get the scoop on what’s growing on. Dr. Beckford told us that he started the organic vegetable garden in hopes of other faculty of education members wanting to join in and help. His hopes and plans for the future of the garden involve creating a garden where children can learn and help with the process of where our food comes from. The maintenance of his garden involves using compost and natural manure and individual watering of the plants with the intention of conserving water. The vegetables they are growing include tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant, cucumber, a variety of sweet peppers and eventually spices and condiments. Dr. Beckford’s research area is in sustainable tropical food systems and security, so he is no stranger to the garden. He has worked with farmers in Jamaica and comes from a family of cultivators. It is so exciting to see the Windsor community getting green and healthy, especially when it is right in our own backyard!

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Jumping Out Of The Box!

Being Creative...

This Tuesday, our group went through the toughest night of the semester. Unfortunately, our designs for the signage were turned down again. It was suggested to find or create our own image for the sign instead of using the ones we had found. At that moment, we were very nervous and anxious for the success of our project. We felt it would not be completed by the end of the semester, since we spent over half of the semester just on the initial stage for the sign. Although hundreds of suggestions had been given by our instructors and we explored many venues, we were lost in our direction. Time does not wait. Only three classes were left to the end of the semester, and the pressures to finalize a design and erect the sign within a week were high! We took the professor’s advice, and immediately went to the Wildflower site in order to refresh our minds. Here we thought up some crazy and creative designs for the sign. Being on site, we were able to think outside of the box, literally, and new ideas just kept coming to us. The process felt very different, as though we were using a part of our brain that had been forgotten since we were 5 years old. With just under an hour, we got fifteen designs! No pain, no gain. Finally, one of our designs evoked some interest, from our professors, for which it was suggested that models be made. This would allow us to analyze our designs and give us multiple angles from which to view the sign. If approved, the next step would be to make the models into reality.

Some ideas

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Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho…It’s Off to Work We Go!

Wildflower Group Cleaning up the Land

Not unlike Disney’s ‘Seven Dwarfs’ who like to ‘dig dig dig dig dig dig dig from early morn till night’, the Wildflower Garden Group donned their gardening clothes and eagerly dug into the next step of the Wildflower Garden plans—preparing the soil.  A few hours were spent with some help from the Urban Agriculture group (who also aided in the purchase of a permanent tool collection for the Eco-House garden) sorting through the tilled lot removing garbage, large rocks, and other debris that could hinder the growing of plants as well as digging up the grass the till had missed.  The soil was found to be incredibly hard and so it was only the biggest rocks and clay that were removed in the hopes that the flowers and rain would be able to break up the smaller mounds of dirt.  Slowly, the land is improving, and though we don’t have any Disney magic to instantly transform the lot into supple soil, we’re not far off with the generous donation of minerals from Noel Harding which will shortly be sprinkled over the land to aid growth.   It was difficult work, and I think we all left with a greater respect for those working outdoors–those seven miners included.
Wildflower and Urban Agriculture Working Together to Clean the Land

Minerals to be Sprinkled Over the Land

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Turn the Tables, or the Signs!

This week the Urban Agriculture group started to contact organizations within the city about the maintenance of the garden during the summer time. On Thursday, two of our members met with the director of the Youth Connection Association. Kenny Gbadebo said he was really interested in our project and willing to help us, but the only thing was the students would not be there during the summer time and would come back in September. He is hoping to hold a summer camp in August, but gave us his contact information and encouraged us to keep in touch. Therefore, this organization could be one of our options to help the maintenance of the garden.

On the other hand, the design of the sign for the garden was still on the way. On Tuesday, after a small meeting with Rod, we decided on the title name for the sign which was “Visual Arts Community”. We wrote the brief introduction of the uses for the land between the two eco-houses, which would be posted on the sign. During Thursday’s class, we discussed our write-up and new designs with the professors. A new suggestion was made for the sign, involving the idea of making a large sign without any wording on it. The sign would act as an eye-catcher, to attract individuals to the garden. Another suggestion made was to add a rain barrel to the sign, or site. The rain barrel needed to be aesthetically appealing and also have high technical skills; therefore it could water the flowers automatically and also be sensitive to the amount of water needed by the flowers. This led us to change our direction completely from the original sign project. Consultations were made with the Wildflower Group to keep their plans for the design of the land in mind, while also fulfilling our requirements of the location and size of the sign. The tasks for the completion of the new sign were separated among group members and work was to be started immediately during the weekend. In the end, we planned to have a finalized sign for next week so that preparations for construction and assembly could be underway.

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Canadian Tire Eh!

Today we purchased items to assist the Wildflower garden group to begin cultivating the land. Staying within the Green Corridor we went to the Canadian Tire on Huron Church. We purchased 2 large shovels a large pack of gloves and a nozzle to attach to the hose. The products were not difficult to find but we were faced with a difficult decision on whether to sacrifice price over quality. In the end we went with quality. An update on another part of our project is establishing a volunteer base to maintain the garden after we have gone. Manjot contacted “A Place of our own”. They gave us some promising news that the possibility of them assisting with volunteers is high. We also called a number of other community organizations where we left detailed voicemail messages explaining who we are and what we are aiming to do. The signs for both the eco house and wildflower garden are well on their way. All they require is approval from Rod and Justin and a little editing in Photoshop. After class with tools in hand we headed down to the Ecohouse to assist the wildflower group in cultivating the land. There were number of areas on the land that have ingrown weeds. We assisted them in removing the weeds. Today was a far cry from the complete project but a productive day overall.

Working hard or hardly working?

We're not scared of getting dirty!

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Halfway through already?!?!

We did our midterm presentation in Thursday’s class. In the presentation, we talked about all the things we had done and the future plans which included the mind map at the beginning, the difficulty of the communication with the Campus Community Garden Project, cooperation with the wild flower group, and last but not least, the idea of implementing a Green Corridor sign at the Ecohouse. After listening to the advice of the “star-studded” panel, we realized that there were still a lot of things that need to be improved.

Here is the list of the things we need to do next:

  1. make the purpose of the sign more clear
  2. do more research on the design of the sign
  3. pay attention on selecting the material for the sign which should be stronger
  4. learn the experience and knowledge from other groups and use them in our project
  5. work together and brainstorm the problem we face
  6. think about the suggestion of square gardening
  7. Incorporate our difficult experiences into our report
  8. seek other opportunities for the eco house beyond designing the sign
  9. think about the question of “who will look after the garden in the future?” and try to find right solution

    Design for the Ecohouse sign (1)

Ecohouse Sign Design (2)

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Karen Landman’s Talk a Success and CCGP Hold Fundraiser

Sorry for the delay in posting – the Karen Landman talk ran late into Thursday evening and the blog posting totally slipped our groups mind.
Karen’s talk was great! There were a lot of faces new to the school of Lebel at the lecture which is great news for those who are working towards a community garden being implemented on campus: it means that there is a lot of interest by community members in seeing this project really succeed. It was great to also see families at the event – involving children in gardens like this is a great way to encourage future generations to consider different approaches in the processes surrounding food production and distribution PLUS it’s a lot of fun for them to get involved, too.

Our urban agriculture group was lucky enough to have Karen sit down with us for a little Q & A where we could pick her brain and utilize her extensive knowledge. We discussed possible bylaws we’d need to take into consideration for the garden and ways to achieve knowledge on bylaws that pertain to community infrastructures (plant sizing bylaws, ways to ensure pedestrian/car views aren’t blocked, etc). We discussed ways to have a “locate” done on the property by the city to know where water, sewage, fiber optic lines , etc are located. We discussed the benefits of obtaining the history of the land from the Land Registry Office to know what was present on these sites over since the City of Windsor was founded a couple of hundred years ago. We also talked about production goals and ways to achieve more community involvement and we discussed about the three important elements to community gardens: the social, economic, and political and ways to integrate all three of these into the work currently being done.

Aside from answering our questions she also provided some great examples of other types of gardens that have been very successful so we could possibly gain perspective from their success (facilities like “STOP” in Toronto, Ontario). Overall, I’d have to say the experience to sit and chat with Karen, as well as listen to her lecture on the possibilities of Urban Agriculture has proved to be invaluable. She was also willing to become a part of the Urban Agriculture’s directory in case we have any more questions or need her assistance in the future.

In addition to Karen’s chat, we were also informed of a fundraiser being put on by the Campus Community Garden Project (CCGP) at The Green Bean Cafe on Friday March 26, 2010 starting at 6:30 p.m.
The fundraiser includes dinner and entertainment and will have Guest Speakers from The Georgia Street Community Garden in Detroit, Michigan.
All profits from the event support the CCGP and help achieve the ultimate goal of implementing a community garden on the campus of The University of Windsor. For more information contact Rita Haase (haaser@uwindsor.ca) or call 519.564.6924.

It should be a really fun event for a really great cause.

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Urban Agriculture: Opportunities and Challenges

Landscape Architecture specialist Karen Landman will present “Urban Agriculture: Opportunities and Challenges” to the public at 7pm on Thursday March 18 at the University of Windsor.

Ms. Landman will address the opportunities and challenges of sustainable living through urban food production while discussing urban agriculture, land stewardship, food systems and urban ‘greening’ projects in other communities.

A professor in Landscape Architecture at the School of Environmental Design & Rural Development, University of Guelph has a background in landscape architecture, planning and development, and cultural geography.  Landman has had a design practice for over 20 years, specializing in planting design. In 2007, she was the recipient of the Ontario Agriculture College Distinguished Professor Award. Her current research interests include green infrastructure, urban agriculture, local food systems, urban to rural linkages, community landscape-stewardship planning, and especially the linkages between design and planning.

Event:

  • Thursday March 18th
  • 7- 9pm
  • Room 115
  • School of Visual Arts, LeBel Building
  • University Of Windsor

(South West Corner of Huron Church Road and College Ave.)

All students and community members are encouraged to attend this event to gain valuable insight into establishing Urban Agricultural Projects for our West Windsor community.

This event is hosted by University of Windsor, Green Corridor in support of the Campus Community Garden Project.

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Urban Argriculture Gets Down to Business

karen landman The Urban Agriculture Group has been up to no good once again. After meeting with Rod to discuss the further details to how involved our partnerships with the other resources outside of the group are and how important it is to solidify a strong relationship with them. We have also been diligently working on a press release for Rod about the Urban Agriculture opportunities and challenges  and also a promotional poster to advertise a presentation with Karen Landman. Karen has a background in landscape architecture, planning and development, and cultural geography.  She has had a design practice for over 20 years, specializing in planting design. , she has been a full-time faculty member in Landscape Architecture at the School of Environmental Design & Rural Development, University of Guelph.

Karen will be presenting Urban Agriculture: Opportunities and Challenges in the Lebel Visual Arts Building, Room 115 on Thursday March 18 at 7pm to 9 pm.  This meeting will be an intriguing discussion that will provide all attendees with an immense insight into the various aspects of Urban Agriculture and the benefits and difficulties associated with it. All students and community members are invited to join in on the discussion.

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