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So Much For That Idea.

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#1 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted April 30, 2012 - 06:57 AM

So I have this field behind my property. The city won't run infrastructure there, and it's right beside the highway, so it remains vacant. There was a fire there a few years ago, so the owner keeps it mowed now, but it's really just an empty field.

I've been planting trees there...just weed trees that pop up in my yard...for a couple of years now. In the past I've planted the occasional patch of veggies I wanted to try but didn't want taking up space in my own garden. Long term the trees should help break the north wind and I like trees, so why not? I've also been wondering what would happen if I planted a full garden there, but since there's really just me and Mrs. Rev we don't need a lot of veggies.

A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio and they interviewed a guy from the food bank. He was promoting the "Grow a Row" program where they ask gardeners to plant a row of vegetables for the food bank. It's a good program, one I've donated to in the past. They like root crops that keep well, which also happen to be easy to grow around here. I had an idea...I could plant a largish garden in the field specifically for the Food Bank. It would be pretty easy, just dig it up and plant. The weeding would be be a bit of work, but I have the tools and equipment and my belly could use some reduction anyway.

I mentioned it to a neighbour whose property also backs onto the field. He's semi-retired and a far more avid gardener than I, and I was kind of hoping for some advice and maybe a little help with this project. Big mistake.

He talked to another neighbour and they formed a little committee and the committee talked to the Food Bank and the Food Bank told them they needed permission from the landowner. So they tracked him down and he's worried about liability and whether it will affect his ability to develop or sell the land later and suddenly the committee is looking for legal advice. It's okay though...somebody knew a lawyer at their church. Oh yeah, now we have lawyers and churches involved. Politicians can't be far behind.

I talked to three members of the committee yesterday and they wanted to know if I'd be willing to use my equipment to prepare the soil if they manage to get the go-ahead, and what reimbursement I'd need for wear and tear and fuel and so on. They basically want to farm the whole field, so it's getting pretty big for my 420...there's gotta be five acres there. They've also been talking about selling some of the produce at roadside stands to help offset costs and wondered if I could make myself and my truck and trailer available for that.

Also, they want to get rid of the pre-hydraulics 8 foot cultivator that's been rusting away out there since the early 1970's. Apparently it's an "eyesore" now, and possibly a danger to children. Funny, I thought it was an interesting ornament, a little bit of history, and just kind of cool. I suppose they'll haul it off as scrap metal.

They've given me lots of time to think about getting involved in this because they figure it's going to take a couple of years to get up and running. Assuming they get the permission of the landowner. Also assuming this whole deal doesn't collapse under its own stupidity.

I should have kept my mouth shut, broken up the 50x100 patch I originally had in mind, and shown up at the Food Bank in September with a truckload of taters, carrots, and onions. Of course now I can't do that because the landowner is suddenly paying attention to the empty field and the little committee has their eye on it too.
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#2 MH81 ONLINE  


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Posted April 30, 2012 - 07:05 AM

Sometimes it harder when you have "help". You intent was laudable and you followed the right proceedure.
Sign of the times that good intentions can be trumped by stupidity.
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#3 Alc OFFLINE  



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Posted April 30, 2012 - 07:40 AM

Funny thing is your story doesn't seem that different then any where else , you start out with a simple idea to help and you end up with nothing getting done , Oh well give you a big thumbs up for trying :thumbs: , take care , Al
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#4 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  



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Posted April 30, 2012 - 07:59 AM

I don't think I could have just gone over my property line and tilled up a patch of land. I do wonder what would have happened if it had just been you talking to the landowner. I'd be cautious too if a group of people suddenly wanted to start plowing all my land, but one person quietly raising a few veggies would be different.
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#5 daytime dave OFFLINE  

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Posted April 30, 2012 - 09:57 AM

I should have kept my mouth shut, broken up the 50x100 patch I originally had in mind, and shown up at the Food Bank in September with a truckload of taters, carrots, and onions. Of course now I can't do that because the landowner is suddenly paying attention to the empty field and the little committee has their eye on it too.

I'm sorry to hear of the outcome so far Rev, but I would have figured as much. It would be nice if it could have worked out, but now it seems liability trumps almost everyone else.

I take my hat off to you for the noble idea. Grow a couple more of everything and make a donation of the extra to the food bag. I'm sure you will accomplish more that way than the committee will this year.
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#6 Newpaws493 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 30, 2012 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for posting I now own a Gt because of a similar chain of events. I live in the city, across the street is 5,000sqft of vacant property where a house stood 30yrs ago. People used it as a random dump site.Tired of seeing that I cleaned it up and started planting flower beds. A few seasons in, the city decides they want to build on it. In their slideshow of the proposed structure, I asked them to zoom in and explained 'all those flowers were planted by me'...anyway, after ten years I continue to maintain the lot, as they continue to pay contractors who get paid to 'show up', they stated I would need $80,000.00 of insurance and the sidewalk has to be cleared when snow comes.I don't think I'll pay a dime for whatever insurance they mentioned but I continue to try to maintain the greenspace as they're becoming scarce around here (houses on top of houses). My old lawnmower finally became useless and I got a GT to work 4seasons; there and elsewhere...'was I rambling'.. sorry...Keep the faith, and do what you can,when you can.

Edited by Newpaws493, May 01, 2012 - 06:19 AM.

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#7 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted April 30, 2012 - 05:20 PM

NewPaws, Any place I ever heard of if you and you alone maintain any piece of property for seven consecutive years it then belongs to you. You might legally be able to tell the city that they are more than welcome to buy it from you.
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#8 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted April 30, 2012 - 05:23 PM

See, I have no problem going over my property line and tilling up a patch of land because it's just an empty field, Howard. I'm careful about the property lines on either side of me because they are actual land that is used by somebody. The worst that could happen in the empty field is that they could mow it down. Hey, it's their land and it's not like some seed potatoes are a huge investment.

The landowner is a speculator who bought the property hoping it would become a subdivision. The city doesn't want that though, in fact they'd prefer this whole neighbourhood just disappeared. It's still more or less 1972 out here and we're all pretty happy with that, but it leaves the city without much tax income and about 400 people who still expect some services. We're okay with gravel roads and ditches, but kids still have to get to school and so on.

I just don't understand why things have to be so complicated though. We have hungry people in this city. Lack of nutrition causes learning disabilities in kids and keeps adults from being able to work properly. Cheap food tends to fill the belly with empty calories. That costs us all money. We have a ton of vacant land. We have a lot of gardeners. We have a really good food bank that runs a really good program. This really should be a no-brainer...encourage people a bit and make it easy for us and we'll grow food.

I talked to smart woman today who said I should start a program that teaches people how to garden and that I should get the politicians involved. Likely a good idea, but my record with politicians is dicey at best. Even the politicians I support have trouble with this whole hippie-redneck thing...not a demographic they can get more than two votes out of. Still, the smart says to write up a proposal and send it to my MLA, so I guess I will. Hell, I'll do just about anything for seat time. Also, I helped my MLA change a tire last summer, and he's the Speaker of the House, so he should have some pull and I guess he owes me a favour.

#9 IamSherwood OFFLINE  


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Posted April 30, 2012 - 06:10 PM

My hat's off to you Rev. A great thing you're trying to do there. To bad that there are too
many chefs in the kitchen. I fear that the situation will only get worse. Before you know
it, the Ministry of Health, Labour, and environment will get their fingers involved.

Keep your chin up, and do what you can for the cause. (on your own, sounds like the best route)

#10 Michiganmobileman OFFLINE  


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Posted April 30, 2012 - 07:01 PM

You get credit from the right Person for your valiant effort though Rev. A very nice thought indeed. :thumbs:

#11 caseguy OFFLINE  


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Posted April 30, 2012 - 08:09 PM

That situation sounds EXACTLY like one of the inane reality TV shows that pollute the airwaves these days...the only difference is that in the show we could all laugh at the idiocy of the committee! I commend you on your thought process and the foresight to see a (seemingly) simple solution to a real problem. As much as I hate to say it, the smart woman may be right, especially if you show the public the mess that the committee has made of a logical suggestion and then point out that "the right politician could surely cut through all of this red tape to help some of his underprivileged constituents...".