Please comment and/or respond to me, Ethan Genauer --
ethan (at) culturechange.org -- if you support this proposal!
"Picnics in the Parks:
Sharing Local Food!"
The seed of this idea was planted by youth activist group New Mexico Youth
Organized, who brought a small group of youth to one recent Downtown
Growers Market. NMYO gave the youth some cash, and we fanned out to
purchase produce from Albuquerque's local farmers. Then - voila! - we
converged back at the picnic table to quickly prepare a delicious feast of
salad greens mixed with fruits and veggies, fresh bread with raspberry
jam, and decadent pie for dessert. And then since we had far more food
than we could eat ourselves, we fanned out again to recruit more folks to
join the meal. Thus a humble effort to expose youth to the tastiness of
local sustainable agriculture turned into a festive community celebration
of our city's cornucopia ... yay!
It was so scrumptious & fun that I started thinking, "Why don't we do
picnics in the parks like this every week at the Downtown and Nob Hill
Growers Markets? It's an ideal way to create community while
simultaneously supporting local farmers!"
To make "Picnics in the Parks" happen, all we really need is a core group
or informal co-op of community members & local food aficionados willing to
contribute $5 to $10 each per Market to purchase the picnic's melange of
ingredients, plus a bit of organization to supply necessary aids to eating
such as plates & utensils. As word spreads, I imagine these picnic
gatherings could very quickly become organically self-regenerating, with
no centralized planning required from week to week!
To launch this "Picnics in the Parks" project (hopefully at the Saturday
July 19th Downtown Growers Market) we need some immediate declarations of
intent to participate ... So I ask, "Are you in?"
But that's not it! As a secondary (or complementary) proposal, I am
interested in the possibility of employing "Picnics in the Parks" as a
gathering place and launching point for citizen activists of Albuquerque
to explore the potential of initiating the "City Repair Project" in our
city. From Seattle to Los Angeles, City Repair is a group of local citizen
activists creating public gathering places and helping others to
creatively transform the places where they live. (For more info:
City Repair’s projects:
* inspire people to both understand themselves as part of a larger
community and fulfill their own creative potential, and
* activate people to be part of the communities around them, as well
as part of the decision-making that shapes the future of their
City Repair was formed in Portland, Oregon in 1996 by citizen activists
who wanted a more community-oriented and ecologically sustainable society.
Since then, City Repair has spread to cities throughout America. Born out
of a successful grassroots neighborhood initiative that converted a
residential street intersection into a neighborhood public square, City
Repair began its work with the idea that localization (of culture, of
economy, of decision-making) is a necessary foundation of sustainability.
By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, we plant
the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empower our communities
and nurture our local culture. We facilitate artistic and
ecologically-oriented placemaking through projects that honor the
interconnection of human communities and the natural world.
What do you think? Do we need a "a more community-oriented and ecologically sustainable society" in Albuquerque, and could the City Repair Project help us achieve it?!?