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Permaculturing the library's lawn--Somerville MA--suggestions for design or talking points?

Posts: 1385
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
kids trees urban writing
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I thought this might be a leverage point in the City of Somerville where I live. The Mayor is pro-urban ag, legalized urban chickens and bees and put out a manual for care of them and guide to the legal aspects, has done a fair amount. Somerville is now counted by some counts as one of the friendliest cities to urban food production. I wouldn't call it paradise, but there's some momentum there and some awareness for sure, and it may be really a fertile ground now or in the near future.

I walk by the library a lot and it has this weird thing that I don't expect to see anymore in my universe: grass. And I would like my tax dollars to be NOT at work. I would like rainwater irrigation. I would like edible ground covers. I would like the library to be a contributing element in the local ecosystem--for humans and non-humans--and for it to be educating people that sustainable is normal, not educating people that waste is normal.

So, the library is having a community visioning day, and I posted about this on the local permaculture meetup, and like 8 people have signed up to come! woohoo! And I'd love more ideas and input about what to say or what design would even make sense here.

At the least, I would like there to be no more use of sprinklers--let's capture rainwater more effectively. I don't love rain barrels, but that would be a step forward. If there IS a secret cistern under there capturing lots of rainwater and they secretly never use the sprinkler system, then I would like that to be stated on a sign--"Your tax dollars not at work--this library lawn maintained free of charge by mother nature. You can thank her by listening." I would like some growies--just something recognizable as food, even if lead/arsenic/other heavy metal levels in the soil may make this illegal; I would like some plants for pollinators (they sort of have this, I've seen the milkweeds allowed to live there) and balance in general--why are the bunnies eating people's gardens? not a surplus of bunny problem but a lack of ____(snakes?) problem. Is the library contributing to balance?

I'm not knowledgeable enough to really be able to talk intelligently about what's best use of this space, I just know it could be a lot more aligned with the three ethics than it currently is. Any _general_ suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (Specifics are cool too, but I need to start with the big picture--what's the best use of this element?

Even if nothing chagnes about the library's lawn from this conversation, it's a chance for more people to hear about permanent culture for the first time, potentially, or to hear more perspectives about what permaculture can be if they've only heard the word used to mean one specific tactic.

here's what I posted:

Let's show up and let Somerville know about what permaculture can do for our community. Libraries are educational entities: let's have the lawn outside educate about a truly sustainable world and carry a message of empowerment rather than waste.
West Branch Library
Community Visioning Meeting
Monday August 24th @ 6:30 -8:30pm
TAB Building–167 Holland Street. 2ndFloor
for more complete information:

Thanks geniuses!
Joshua Myrvaagnes
Posts: 1385
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
kids trees urban writing
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from Sebastopol, which is _on it_, way ahead of Summavulle:

City of Sebastopol

Daily Acts is thrilled to be partnering with the City of Sebastopol and Permaculture Artisans on the landscape transformation project 'Our Front Yard'. The project is a community-powered effort to mobilize and organize citizen volunteers to install and maintain a living history garden at the Sebastopol City Hall and Library, right in the heart of downtown. The City Hall and Library are like Sebastopol's communal living room, and the exterior spaces around them are like Sebastopol’s front yard. 'Our Front Yard' will make these prominent spaces more like Sebastopol itself: beautiful, productive, purposeful, and a source of pride. On March 22nd, 88 volunteers sheet mulched the site and on May 17th, 75 volunteers put over 500+ plants in the ground!

The current landscaping and water-thirsty turf is making way for...

Water Conservation and Sustainability
We'll be sheet mulching water-thirsty turf, installing efficient drip irrigation, planting water-wise natives, implementing ecological landscaping techniques and planting edibles and fruit trees to create an edible forest garden. The landscape transformation can yield powerful sustainability benefits and the hope is that it inspires residents to transform their own landscaping, thus benefitting the whole community.

Botany as History
The landscape design, which was donated by Permaculture Artisans, tells the story of Sebastopol through four major eras in the city's history:

1. Indigenous plants that sustained our native peoples and wildlife;
2. Food crops planted by pioneers and immigrants;
3. Luther Burbank’s influence on Sebastopol’s botanical environment;
4. Contemporary Sebastopol, with its emphasis on conservation and sustainability.

Civic Pride
The City Hall and Library are Sebastopol’s two most prominent public buildings in the downtown area. 'Our Front Yard' will be a welcoming, attractive outdoor space and a source of beauty for residents and visitors.

Learn more at the Our Front Yard website.
Good heavens! What have you done! Here, try to fix it with this tiny ad:
Perennial Vegetables: How to Use Them to Save Time and Energy
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