Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Highway Addiction and Permaculture

"A road over Little Frog Mountain using Kimsey highway could cost about $680 million."
Heard about the new highway from Asheville, NC to Cleveland, TN? I hadn’t either, so thanks to the Southern Appalachians Initiative for this. Back in 1965, the Appalachian Regional Commission called for a big four-lane, Corridor K, to connect the two cities…to foster development and to relieve poverty. (Maybe those two things weren’t mutually exclusive back then?) Driven by that quaint vision, the movers and shakers still want to cut the ribbon on Corridor K. It follows US 64 much of the way, but an alternate path is proposed where 64 runs through the Ocoee River Gorge in Polk County, TN, home of the World Famous Maggie’s Mill Historic Site. (SAI has video and more.) I’ve been there, and it’s a refreshingly remote and rural part of the US of A. A four-lane tearing through there would about take care of that, though. You could kiss it goodbye. Fire up the dozers. On the other hand, this RFP for a Corridor K Development Plan makes it look like something that will never happen.

I want to be a permaculturalist when I grow up…

Maybe relieving poverty and fostering development can co-exist. Let’s try. Thanks to Permaculture Reflections for telling us about swales for drylands water catchment. Conventional agriculture has created large deserts in many parts of the world. "Almost 70% of the agricultural dryland is degraded by desertification." A swale is a level trench dug along a low point in the desert terrain, designed not to carry water away, but to catch water and eroded soil. Simple and cost effective, swales help provide favorable conditions to begin the process of desert reforestation.

And back to the Permaculture Kitchen for what might be the coolest news of the day, a post on Non-Timber Forest Products, quoting from "Working Paper: Exploring the Value of Urban Non-Timber Forest Products" -
"Over 103 products from 78 species are currently collected by individuals and organizations in Baltimore City. These 103 include edible products (43%), medicinal products (8%), horticultural or nursery products (31%), and craft and decorative products (18%). Products are collected by a wide diversity of ethnic and socio-economic groups including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, Eastern European-Americans, and Anglo-Americans. Products are collected from street trees, park trees, yards, vacant lots, roadsides, and forested areas."
(More on Agroforestry)
If that many people are finding that many uses for materials from that many trees IN THE FREAKIN’ CITY OF BALTIMORE!!!!, it just makes you wonder what you’d find to be happening in these hills around about Cullowhee. Wow, I’d really like to know.

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