Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Growing food is revolutionary

The growing season is going to end.  While that's true every year it seems heart-wrenching this evening.  Tonight’s overnight temperature is predicted to be in the mid-50s.

We’ve taken the miracles on our back deck for granted.  Although, like so many folks in the City we are land constrained we have been able to grow food.  It has sparked a new love for us.  A reminder that we are stewards of this earth.  It has changed the way we think about the consumption of food and so much more.  This gift of gardening is to be cherished.  We’ve been fortunate. 

A Northbrook woman has found a better use for her front yard than a manicured lawn. She turned it into a vegetable garden.
But that doesn’t quite fit Northbrook’s regulations for front yard use, according to director of community planning Thomas Poupard.
The 69-year old Russian immigrant doesn’t see herself as a revolutionary. She just wants to have fresh tomatoes available for the friends and relatives who frequently visit.
“I wouldn’t do it if I had sun in the back yard,” said the woman, who did not want her name used. “The only way to get sun is to put the garden in front.”
The home in the 2700 block of Shannon Road is owned by her son, Alex Lyakhovetsky, who has been asked by Northbrook officials to remove the garden next year.
The homeowner’s mother thinks more people should grow some of their own food, for both the health and economic benefits. And she doesn’t understand who could complain. After all, she said, “it’s not a barking dog at night.”
But people have started complaining.
“We started to get calls from neighbors,” Poupard said.
The calls started after the village board discussed the problem of unkempt grass and landscaping on foreclosed properties in the village.
Poupard said his department sent a letter to Lyakhovetsky, asking that this year’s garden be the last in the front yard.
“We sent what we thought was a nice note asking the homeowner to harvest the crops and restore the yard by next spring,” Poupard said.
Lyakhovetsky said he doesn't understand the fuss. After receiving the letter from the village, he said, he learned that the response was spurred by a complaint from a single neighbor. The rest of the neighborhood has largely come to his defense.
"[The letter] didn't list any specific ordinance or why we can't have it," he said. "I got nothing but support [from neighbors] for doing this. We're not selling anything; it's just for personal use."
Lee Goodman, who lives near Lyakhovetsky, decided to get involved and has gotten about 20 signatures from neighbors supporting her and her garden. Afer all, many neighbors reap the benefits of the garden’s harvests.
“Just in her neighborhood, about three in four neighbors were happy to sign the petition,” Goodman said.

  There is inspiration to be found in the small acts of resistance people make to nourish their bodies as well as the bodies of their loved ones.

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