Saturday, September 27, 2008

Inner City Inspiration....

Or you find things out in the the most unlikely places and when you do there is only one word for it....


or so thought the MacArthur foundation who granted Will Allen a "Genius Grant' for his work on creating "Growing Power" an inner city farm described in this New York Times article. Allen's ability to grow crops in the most unlikely places in the most sustainable fashion (ahh worm power) is amazing. It reminds me of the old adage that "Nature finds a way" especially if we give it a little help.

While the "October Prizes" are around the corner, I do feel the MacArthur grants are more interesting. Not restricted to a specific set of disciplines I have been fortunate enough to have dinner with some in the past (lest you think I'm name dropping, I'm just saying that I'm lucky) and there is a vibrancy that is invigorating. I highly recommend reading Denise Shekerjian's Uncommon Genius The great thing about reading Shekerjian's book is understanding that genius is not merely being more, but looking at things in a different frame of mind. Working with the constraints of the medium at hand and coaxing out value. It's about a vision and an independence of mind and spirit. If you get a chance, visit the Mac Arthur Foundation website and look at some of the recipients and their work. Some of the things are simply being alive and noticing what is there, like finding a loose thread and pulling it to see where it leads.

In greening we think in terms of alternatives or replacements, but can we reconceptualize the conversation. The closest for me right now is William McDonough, but I think there are others. As humans our brains think linearly, but nature is about closed loops. A reconciliation of these two are critical to our survival. It always has. So get creative and think of your own genius.


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