Arlington Community Gardens

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Last weekend I began fieldwork for the Summer 2016 Field School. I’m back along the Columbia Pike, this time studying community gardens along Four Mile Run and Douglas Park.

The project stretches me in new and exciting ways. I’m an avid “urban farmer”–I cleared the azaleas alongside my house to create three 8X10 garden beds. The azaleas were beautiful, but they had the best sun on our otherwise wooded lot. The community gardens are county-owned properties that are leased to residents who don’t have space or availability to grow fruits and vegetables near their own homes. But I’ve never considered the impact of community gardens on food security and sustainability from an academic perspective. I plan to spend spring break reading up on the academic literature on community gardens.

The growing season for hearty spring and root vegetables begins on March 1 in Northern Virginia, so gardeners got together for a recipe and seed swap on February 27. I was shocked by the number of people who showed up–nearly forty people in all. The chief gardener, Maraea Harris, reviewed rules for the gardens and important dates. I also met nearly 20 gardeners who are interested in participating in the project. That’s a fantastic number of people to have on board so early in the process.

I’ll be talking to gardeners and visiting the garden plots periodically between now and the official start of the field school in mid-May. I’m extremely pleased to be offering the field school again this year and to be back in Arlington County for the project.

The Field School 2016

Today I begin the first field visit to prepare for the 2016 Field School for Cultural Documentation. I’ll be working with Community Gardens in Arlington County.

I grew up on a farm, so the idea of a kitchen garden makes sense to me. I tore out landscaping around my house to exploit the only sunny spot on our largely wooded property to ensure we have fresh tomatoes and beans each season. The community garden is a small-scale urban farm. In Arlington, the county government provides about 4 acres of land to allow residents (mainly those who live in apartments and condos) to grow their own food.

January will be a fallow time, but I’m excited to see to garden spaces and how the parcels are managed in the off-season.

This blog will become much more active now that I’m back in the field.

Historical photos – Then and now

This is such a cool use of historic photography. Love it.

Chris Dale Historical Gifs Project

Below are a number of animated images showing Morgantown as it was captured at some point in history compared to what it looks like today. Some of the images aren’t perfectly matched-up simply because the landscape has changed so much and buildings now stand where fields once graced the landscape. Also, trees have been planted in certain areas that would make shooting from the same location impossible. Of course, I also simply ‘missed’ on a few.

Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy the photos. I plan on doing a few hundred of these so if you see me around Morgantown, and more recently South Park, shooting please say, “hi”. I love history and am always amazed at how often I walk by, and even upon, the very ground where significant events happened so many years ago.

And to be clear, the historic images came from the West Virginia and Regional History Collection.  You can search…

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Not me

OMG–there are two Laura Scotts. And they couldn’t be more different.

Laura Ellen Scott

I like my name, but it’s a little more common than I’d prefer as a writer. I could have been Laura Ellen Golembiewski, if my parents hadn’t decided to buck tradition and invent their own last name. Maybe it was a 60s thing. Maybe my mom didn’t want to be a Golembiewski. It was a sure thing she didn’t want to be a Blanchard anymore. Apparently my dad was shooting for a hyphenate: Gordon-Scott, but mom thought that was pretentious (it was, and Dad didn’t think that was a problem). So Scott was the compromise, and Dad took Gordon as his new middle name.

I used to write as “L. E. Scott,” until I discovered that was the name of a jazz poet. “Laura Scott” is the name of a line of clothing, so that’s out. “Laura Ellen Scott” has worked well for quite some time, but every once in a while…

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