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Urban Country Fair Saturday, Farm Aid Concert Sunday

September 30, 2009 Environment, Events/Meetings, Farmers' Markets Comments Off on Urban Country Fair Saturday, Farm Aid Concert Sunday

This coming weekend the fine folks from Farm Aid will be in Town.  Sunday October 4th I will be out at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (aka Riverport) to see the annual concert featuring Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and many others (see lineup). The concert can be viewed on DirecTV or streaming via FarmAid.org.

Saturday’s festivities are far away from the suburban concert setting.  Farm Aid will partner with local organizations to present an Urban Country Fair in Tower Grove Park in South St. Louis:

On Saturday, October 3, Farm Aid is inviting St. Louisans to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

The free HOMEGROWN Urban Country Fair, curated by Farm Aid’s online community, HOMEGROWN.org, will feature exhibits and workshops showcasing ways that everybody can get involved with good food. From urban farming to composting, beekeeping, home brewing and all things in between, the Fair promises a day of hands-on, interactive experiences. Farm Aid’s partners for the event include All Along Press; The Greenhorns; KDHX Community Media; Local Harvest Grocery, Cafe and Catering; and the Tower Grove Farmers Market.

The fair will feature vendors celebrating modern homesteading and the connection to good food, farmers and the earth. Fair goers will also enjoy live music by The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir and The Northwoods.

Exhibits will include:
The Burning Kumquat Urban Farm – Urban farming
The Greenhorns – Getting started in farming and seed cleaning
Organic Valley – Butter making and young farmers
Floating Farms – Aquaculture
Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association – Beekeeping!
YellowTree Farm – Urban homesteading
Schlafly Beer – Home brewing
Upcycle Exchange – Crafting and repurposing
Earthdance – crowd-sourced mural painting
Rachel Bigler – Fermentation

WHEN: October 3, 2009, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, Tower Grove Park, West of the Pool Pavilion

Farm Aid founded HOMEGROWN.org to be a place where the love for food and the land evolves, deepens, and becomes something more fulfilling. The HOMEGROWN.org social network is a community of like-minded do-it-yourselfers who can share the bigger stories that food has to share.

Farm Aid’s mission:

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family-farmed food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised nearly $36 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

– Steve Patterson


Readers Prefer Boulevard Over Tunnel

A large majority of those voting in the poll last week support the idea of removing a section of highway downtown and building a boulevard as a pleasant way to move vehicles through the area.  The total number of votes was 162.

The highway is now marked as I-70 but once the new Mississippi River bridge is opened I-70 will cross over into Illinois rather than pass by the Arch.  The tunnel proposal solves only a 3-4 block section of getting past the highway lanes.  The boulevard would help mend over a mile long zone for half the cost.

It has been suggested just closing Memorial Drive.  That still leaves the exposed highway North of Washington Ave as well as creating a huge dead zone  — vast pedestrian mall at the foot of the Gateway Arch.  Bad idea.

– Steve Patterson


Plaintiffs Delay Century Case Again

After demolition of the historic Century Building began in the Fall of 2004, the lawsuits by two downtown residents seeking to prevent the demolition became a moot point.  On April 19, 2005 the State of Missouri and the City of St. Louis, through entities, joined with the developer of the Ninth Street Parking Garage and filed a Malicious Prosecution claim against Marcia Behrendt & Roger Plackemeier. The plaintiffs are seeking $1,000,000.

After numerous delays the trial was scheduled to finally get underway tomorrow ( 9/14/2009) at 9am.  But last Friday, at the request of the Plaintiffs, the case was again delayed.  The parties have a new date of 10/26/2009 — that date is just to determine the future trial date.  Most likely we are looking at 2010 for the trial.   When your motivation is to discourage public participation it makes sense to drag these things out.

I should disclose that I personally know both Marcia Behrendt & Roger Plackemeier.  Marcia was the person that found me after my stroke on 2/1/2008.  So I’m not an impartial observer in this issue.  To file such a claim and then delay for years is just wrong.

MISSOURI DEVELOPMENT FINANCE BOARD VS BEHRENDT, Case #22052-01373, can be viewed at http://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet.  The poll this week asks your view on the city & state suing these two for the last four + years.   Right or wrong?

– Steve Patterson


Tour of Missouri Worth the Expense?

Budgets are tight at all levels of government.  Monday I was part of an estimated 75,000 spectators along the 7.5 mile route of stage 1 of the Tour of Missouri:

Start/Finish line at 7th & Market, St. Louis

The tour came close to not happening this year.  The tour, in its 3rd year, is a project of Republican Lt Governor Peter Kinder.  Governor Jay Nixon wanted to cut the tour to help balance the state budget:

Gov. Jay Nixon has made public the specifics of $60 million in budget cuts he had previously announced in June.

The Department of Social Services took the biggest hit at $16 million.

In June, Nixon vetoed $105 million in spending as he looked to balance a state budget suffering from declining revenue in the wake of the recession. He also held back $325 million in spending on other projects, and directed his department heads to propose additional cuts totalling $60 million.

An early memo suggesting money for the Tour of Missouri be cut touched off a storm of controversy over the proposed cuts. The money for the Tour was saved. So, too, were some of the proposed cuts to the state Water Patrol that would have left parts of the Missouri River and Mississippi river without enforcement coverage.  (Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 08.20.2009)

I’ve yet to find the cost to the state or the estimated benefits to local governments and the state.

Like the folks hanging out at Citygarden watching the race, above, I really enjoy the tour each year.  But does the tour make fiscal sense?  The prior two years the tour ended in St. Louis.  This year St. Louis was the location of the first stage of the week-long race across the state. Competitors, crew and even TV announcers were hear from all over the world.  Amateur racers in town for the Gateway Cup finished on Monday just before the pros got started.  The synergy  was great.  But that alone doesn’t justify the cost to taxpayers.

All states have a tourism budget.  Some run TV ads in neighboring states to attract nearby visitors.  All seem to have free state maps available. Seldom can you see and feel the direct benefit of a tourism expenditure.  Hopefully in the coming 6-12 months we’ll see some discussion at the state level about any return on our continued investment in the Tour of Missouri.  My suspicion is the partisan battle is mostly centered on the fact the tour is a project of a Republican and a Democrat now occupies the Governor’s Mansion.  It the situation were reversed we’d probably see Republicans opposing the same tour if championed by a Democrat.

– Steve Patterson


River des Peres Trash Bash on the Greenway

Cleaning up the planet sounds good but what can one person do?

River des Peres at Gravois

A week from Saturday there is an event where you can make a difference:

September 19th 2009 at 8:00 am
The River des Peres Trash Bash will have clean-up sites throughout the entire River des Peres watershed. Several of the clean-up areas are along Great Rivers Greenway District trail projects. The clean-up base area, as well as registration and after clean-up festivities, will be along the River des Peres Greenway Trail on River des Peres Blvd between Morganford and Gravois (Fultz Field area) in St. Louis City [map link]. The clean-up promotes the connection of land and water through neighborhood and stream clean-ups, educating the public on how they can Make a Difference in their neighborhood, and the development and promotion of partnerships along River des Peres. Please come out and join us!

This event is a good excuse to get to know the River des Peres better.  Volunteers are asked to register in advance.  Now if only there was a way to volunteer to help get some real water in the river 24/7.

– Steve Patterson