[permaculture] A Permanent Culture:-Rural or Urban or......

Sean Maley semaley at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 13 17:58:05 EDT 2005

--- Scott Vlaun <scott at moosepondarts.com> wrote:
> Thank You Lawrence,
> Having lived in both city and country, your
> sentiments rang true for me. I'm sure I consume much
> lest energy here in rural Maine than I did in NYC. I
> heat with my own wood instead of oil, grow a
> significant portion of my food, buy local for most
> of the rest. I travel less for leisure and can ride
> my bike to town. Most of our buildings are made with
> materials from our carefully managed woodlot and
> with a small bandsaw mill. In the city, everything i
> touched was imported from fairly far away (much of
> NYC's food still comes from California or Central
> America.)

See justfood.org and cenyc.org for a recent food trend
in NYC.

It often feels like ruralites compare themselves to
urbanites, as if the urbanites are doing something
wrong.  It's like we are expected to walk out of the
cities like happened to the Anasazi, Mayans, and more.

Large scale acceptance of sustainable living will only
happen by urban and rural partnerships.  Both
lifestyle choices have the same ignorance to overcome.
 People who prefer a rural lifestyle should find a
food network to share surplus with the urban areas. 
The urban areas should form associations that
reciprocate the hard work being done on the rural
farms.  People should be moving in both directions.  

As for Maine, I know a little about the state and the
plight that exists far north of Otisfield.  Few of my
relatives in Maine grow their own food; this is the
tradition, but stopped in recent decades.  When they
aren't in their car, they are on their ATV or Ski Doo;
thank television for having them feel bored.  The
garbage and rusting cars in the woods suggest this has
been going on since WWII.  Gas prices may get them
thinking about food production again, given the long
long drive to the nearest grocery store.  The better
pay jobs are already gone.  Bangor is too far away. 
Lincoln doesn't have much to offer as a city and also
too far for regular trips; Lincoln was better decades
ago, albeit with the nasty stench from the paper mill.

The same quality exists in their grocery stores as NYC
(often worst), except I walk in NYC, which is only
during the four months the Green Market isn't here in
the neighborhood; this is year two for the Inwood
Green Market.  Some people in the neighborhood eat
exclusively from wild edibles available in the old
growth forest here at the northern tip of Manhattan. 
See wildmanstevebrill.com for some of the species
being eaten out of the parks.  There are far more wild
berries in Maine to make pies.

There are plenty of online photos of this area in NYC
(Inwood Hill Park), if you don't believe me; even
better, come visit.  The contrast is amazing between
ultra urban, then one block of walking puts you in the
middle of the woods with gigantic trees; the biggest
are Tulip, Beech, Elm, Ginkgo, Oak, and Maple.  The
next step is to stop the Parks from using poisons; the
interest is there to apply permaculture starting with
the nature center.  Bill at the nature center is part
of the spontaneous tribe recently emerging here.  It
would be a long walk for me to see trees this big in
Maine.  They used to be there according to my grand
father's stories; about cutting them down and
dynamiting them in the rivers for the paper company.

The west side bike path is faster to midtown and
downtown than the subway; the Hudson River view is
better too.  Forget about driving a car; dyslexics pay
a $250 penalty for each offence and run a marathon
freeing the car from the pound.  A car is not only
required in Maine, but residents also need some sort
of snow capable option that uses way too much gas for
four wheel drive and big tires.

There is reason to feel hopeful in NYC; getting the
word out here is more meaningful by shear scale of
economy.  The Mainiacs aren't very pleased about the
New Yawka's and Massholes running up their land
prices, so they can't pay their property taxes
anymore; they also don't like being told how to live. 
Florida is the cheaper option during the winter
months.  Heroin is a far bigger problem in remote
Maine than in NYC; yes more addicts are in NYC, but
for such a small population to be hit so hard is
terrible; brain drain is running deep, while it
continues to pool in the big city.


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