Below are excerpts from a recent email conversation. They typify my experiences in trying to get people in authority in Brevard County, Florida, to accept and/or support Community Gardens in any form, over the last 3 years.
Note: Bill Gary is president of the The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex, Inc.
from Greg firstname.lastname@example.org to Juanita Barton <email@example.com> date Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 12:51 PM subject Aquaponic Community Garden Idea
I sincerely appreciate your help and patients with me in presenting this idea to the Board of Moore Memorial Park Complex Center.
Upon seeing the new pond nearing completion in the Moore Memorial Park, I thought that it would be a very appropriate and socially beneficial thing to have an Aquaponics System in the Park!
Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, re-circulating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish wastes to plant nutrients. This is an environmentally-friendly, natural food growing (aka "Organic") method that harnesses the best attributes of aquaculture (aka "Fish Farming") and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) without the need to discard any water or filtrate or add chemical fertilizers.
Since Mims is now a typical suburban community, but historically a rural agricultural one, Community Gardens and Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), are things that are glaringly and inexcusably absent. This is evident for instance, in the fact that Brevard County does not have a program for Community Gardens in it's Parks the way some of it's neighbors like Orange County do. Harry Moore was a "man ahead of his time", but tragically the community he lived in wasn't and apparently still isn't.
Positive progressive change will only come when people take the initiative to boldly embrace new and clearly better ways of doing things. Aquaponics is without doubt one of those things. It is the most energy and space efficient way to grow food that has ever been developed.
I was first introduced to "Aquaponics" about 40 years ago while attending Goddard College. At the time that specific term was not yet being used. But the concepts and practice of it were a major aspect of the Social Ecology Studies Program that I was enrolled in.
To my knowledge there is not an Aquaponics System in any Public Park yet. Even if there is something of this type that I'm not aware of, the potential benefits of implementing one in the Moore Memorial Park to our local community and to society in general, would be very great in deed!
On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 10:27 PM, a href="mailto:Gweg1999@aol.com" target="_blank">Bill Gary> wrote:I have not because Community Gardens of any type, need to be located in close proximity (easy walking distance) to where the gardeners live.Greg, I guess you really believe this is a good project and I am willing to see if you can pull it together. I am too busy trying to manage the many things we already have going on to put another conceptual project on my plate.Bill,
I can easily empathize with your feeling of having an overwhelming amount to do and I wouldn't want to unduly impose on your time. But, so that I might gain sufficient knowledge to put together a comprehensive presentation, would you please compile a short list of people for me? One of individuals that you feel might be best be able to assist me in that objective?(SNIP) have you approached Parks and Recreation about putting this water garden at Chain of Lakes?
BTW it is improper and likely to be quite misleading and confusing to refer to an Aquaponic System as a "water garden". An analogy would be referring to the Wright Brother's airplane as "modern" transportation.
On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 4:00 PM, a href="mailto:Gweg1999@aol.com" target="_blank">Bill Gary> wrote:(SNIP) My other point is, what makes you think this is something that the Moore Cultural Complex Board would be interested in? It will in no way promote the legacy of Harry & Harriette Moore, it is of no historical/cultural value in terms of the civil rights work they did, it does not promote civil rights or history in any form that I can see, so what would be its purpose? (SNIP)Those are very good questions, with no easy or simple answers that I can see offhand! But I'm certain, as one can reasonably be, that they exist and that we can find them, if we try. As it appears to me now, it is likely to take a substantial amount of discussion between us, as well as some studying of relevant material, to effectively and sufficiently answer and understand them.
As it appears to me now, the legacy of Harry & Harriette Moore would be well served by having a Community Garden as I have suggested. Because, it would cultivate civic values, much in the same way they did. Much has changed in our World since their time. The issues and challenges they faced, have changed in context, but have not gone away. Instead, along with World population, they have grown in size and complexity. Now, it's not just a matter of simple racial issues we have to deal with, it is the more daunting problems of environmental degradation and much greater socio-economic inequality that we face. The gap between rich and poor of all races of people has continued to widen to the extent that now, a mere 2% of the World's population has 48% of it's wealth. A Community Garden in their Memorial Park would be a powerful and dynamic icon representing what needs to be done now in Mims and the World. It would be a practical demonstration of what a local community can do to improve it's self and in doing so, the World.
Act locally, think globally.
I think this is something that will not fly, especially at the Moore Park. Additionally, what I was concerned about initially is getting involved with helping you pull this off - I don't have time to put together a list of people to help you prepare a presentation nor am I willing to do it myself. Whether you call it a Community Garden or an Aquaphonic System, it is not something the Moore Cultural Complex board supports for inclusion in the Moore Park. I think you'll have better luck at a different location.