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Oklahoma suburb  RSS feed

 
Liz Hodgson
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I live in an Oklahoma suburb and drive around 60 miles a day to work a back due to the urban sprawl. It's mostly just grass right now. It makes me sad.

I believe our green spaces can be used better. I would like to bring the idea of edible landscaping in public spaces up to my local government.

Ex. Add fruit trees and berries plants in city parks.
Perhaps a vegetable garden at the local school.

Has anyone had experience talking to local governments about proposals like this? What works? What can go wrong?


The thing that I'm scared of is a poorly designed project that fails and makes permaculture look bad.
Important considerations:
Budget
Site conditions
Soil amendments
Irrigation
Erosion control
Wildlife
Mature size of plants
Generating community support and enthusiasm
Finding volunteers
Who does maintenance?
Who gets produce?

Anything I haven't thought of that would make a stronger proposal?
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 102
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Are you in OKC or T-town?
 
Zach Muller
gardener
Posts: 778
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
36
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In my opinion the best way to go about this would be leaving the word permaculture completely out, which ensures a failure would be blamed on whatever caused it rather than a rare word that is largely unknown.
Right now is one of the only times sustainability and smart design are on the table for municipalities. So why not just pitch designs that are smart, efficient, low cost, ecologically in tune? Permaculture could be behind every decision but that doesn't mean it has to be on your forehead when speaking to authorities.

They keep it as grass for a few reasons; access, "lower cost"upkeep, and Puritan aesthetics. If your ideas for alternative landscapes can align closely enough with their reasons, then they become viable alternatives.

One tiny example along a highway here in my area.. Instead of the standard grass embankment there was a program to plant an organized stand of pines. Beneath the pines they seed vetch and clovers, and then mow about half as frequently as the grass. It's obviously not perfect but believe me, it is shocking to see even that much in this political climate.
Another example is the overgrown wetlands type area with willows, cat tails and things like that which sits at the bottom of the embankment runoff area. 99% of other runoff areas are mowed tightly or are poured concrete. There is no reason they couldn't all be wetland areas.
 
Liz Hodgson
Posts: 9
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Eric, I am in the okc metro. Do you live in the area?
 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 102
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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No, I'm about 25 miles outside (south) of Tulsa. Are you new to the area? Probably the best resource for what you're asking about is Transition OKC (assuming you don't know them already). Good luck and keep us posted.
 
Zach Muller
gardener
Posts: 778
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Here is a link to a few documents including the OKC landscape ordinances, a document detailing considerations on trees and shrubs in the city

PlanOKC is the comprehensive plan regarding changes made by city planners, developers, business owners in the okc area. A good way to brush up on what is already in the works for the area.

The office of sustainability OKC has links to resources and community programs as well as a newsletter that can signed up for to get current events.

Neighborhood Alliance of OKC is another community group with programs and resources available. When I lived in OKC our neighborhood had good luck with this organization while trying to gather ourselves and raise money.

Basically, to me it seems like there are alot of people in the area who agree with you about making our green spaces more useful and less resource consuming. It is a matter of discovering who is doing what to mitigate the problems they see and then joining in with the community groups who are doing work that you appreciate the most. I hope some of these links and things help you find a comfortable way to make a difference. I used to commute from OKC to edmond in the AM and then commute all the way to Norman during rush hour, then back to OKC in the evening. It was some of the worst times. Hope your drive is more timely than mine was.

 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1787
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
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There are some people in Tulsa who put in a food forest along one of their urban highways. You might be able to use elements of their work as a model for what you have in mind? We have a thread about it with more info.
 
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