Monthly Archives: September 2012

8 Miles for the Flood

When I was a little girl I was often told not to do things that draw attention to myself. It’s not lady like. Fortunately those rules were thrown out the window many, many years ago, as getting noticed is sometimes the only way to get things done. I realized that when I started City Saunter. I knew that drawing attention to me and this project would ultimately be a positive for Lansing, myself and others in the community. I was willing to do that because I thought my project was that worthwhile. I guess I’ve secretly always liked getting attention. Today I walked with Heather Sheets. She isn’t an over the top attention getter. She could easily let another take the spot light. She is, however, very business savvy. She also came to a similar realization that if you are passionate about something and it’s not at the level you would like it to be, then you better be willing to do something outrageous to get it there. And that’s what she did. When she isn’t running Simple-T with her good friend and business partner TJ Duckett, she is managing and organizing New World Flood, a second endeavor she started with TJ. Despite having a rewarding entry year of activities, Heather felt that it needed a little push. So she launched The 1001 Mile Walk Project. She is hoping this attention grabbing project will help make people more aware of New World Flood and all that it does for the community.
Today we parked at Granger Meadows, which surprisingly wasn’t that far outside of the Lansing City limits. We then walked south on Old US 27 weaving up and down dead end road, after dead end road on the east side and west side of the highway. We were out walking for almost 3 hours and although I felt a blister coming on and my knees buckled when I stopped to tie my shoe late in the walk, it didn’t seem like three hours, nor did it feel like 8 miles. I think I might have found the new secret incentive to get this city finished up; walking with a good friend!
Here’s our 8 mile walk!

If You Plant It, It Will Grow!

I hadn’t planned for this day to be as busy as it was. I hadn’t been on a walk for this project in almost a month and I felt I was very much out of shape. Had I been paying attention I would have restrained myself a little. However, I have a hard time turning down a great opportunity so when I got the notice that The Land Bank and the Greater Lansing Food Bank were planning to put in raspberry bushes in a neighborhood I hadn’t walked yet, I jumped all over that. This was one of those neighborhoods that I wasn’t overly confident in walking alone. The best way for me not to be alone is to piggy back my walk with some community effort. I love urban gardens too. At 10:00 a.m. I was finding a parking spot along S. Francis on the east/south side of Lansing. When I was putting my presentation together for Capital Gains Speaker Series I realized that one of my unwritten objectives was changing the perception of Lansing by delving into it street by street. The neighborhood I walked definitely needed a perception change. This is an area labeled the “Hoe Zone”; very graphic. On the other hand I also know this neighborhood has one of the most active community centers in Lansing with the Allen Street Community Center. The hardship this area faces is multiple; many of its eastern most streets are not even in Lansing, the southern edge of the streets butt up against the 496 highway leaving many of these roads as dead ends and it sits in a flood plain. However I noticed as I walked that these unchangeable circumstances didn’t stop the people of this neighborhood or other community members from coming in and planting a change. As I walked this entire section (almost 6 miles) I came across no fewer than eight urban garden plots. The first lot I came to was at the corner of Francis and Marcus. This was the planting that got me here.
I came across a small group of dedicated volunteers, most from MSU School of Business or MSU Hillel and their community service group Tzedek with an ideology of “repairing the world”.
I watched as they robustly dug into the earth, making space for the new fruit trees they were planting. Later in the day another group would meet up around the corner to create the perfect frame work for spring raspberries to begin. Street after street I found these gardens.
Some were only a single lot.

Some like the Urbandale Farm, a garden oasis, resided on multiple lots and multiple locations.

The green thumb also seemed contagious as many residents had fantastic gardens growing in their yards.
I suppose, sometimes you pick up a nickname and it just sticks and no matter how much you try to change it, it just doesn’t go away. I’m thinking that the branding of this area as the “Hoe Zone” might be more appropriate than originally thought.