Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MUSIC FOR THE FOOD FOREST

DAVENPORT PLAYS THE RIGHT TUNE
Temecula, CA – This is the first of two stories that deal with the unnamed river town in Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green, which is, in reality, Davenport, Iowa, and the young art scene. Since an anarchist travels on his taste buds, my curiosity about empanadas [deep-fried pie crust turnovers filled with Mexican style seasoned ground beef] at Nally's on Rockingham, led to seeing a flier-advertised earth day fundraiser. (Delish!)
With all proceeds to go for the sustained creation of the Blackhawk Gardens Community Food Forest in Davenport, this event was the result of two disparate groups working together to bring about a common shared goal. That seven acre goal is a space set aside to grow trees with fruits, nuts, and berries that will be available to the public/homeless, along with indigenous plants and shrubs not readily abundant anymore. The tending of this 'food forest' is being cared for by artisan volunteers, most of whom are part of the 'new urban' look to the downtown area.

The Quad City Food Forest event was the culmination of 3 guys named Chris. An Urban Architect named Daren had the grassroots idea and who to talk to at City Hall, that 'who' was named Chris [Johnson], and the idea of a food forest was from a guy named Chris [Rice]. The third Chris was the venue manager which was a giant bingo room with a smaller bar attached as a stand-alone business.

The secured city land was a type that floods in wet years but is suitable for planting in normal to dry years. Trees and plants had been budgeted under planting grass to improve quality of life of the community for economic development. As such the planned improvements didn't have to go before the city council. City Arbor Dept. Johnson met with the volunteer head and a local promoter named Dan, well, his gf had the idea for the fundraiser. A young woman with dusty blond dreds named Jet gave me the 411 that the evening's entertainment was all local.
The scene, which was throwing the event was part of the River Music Experience, an artist group which began around 2005. I left in '94. There was one name I recalled though, and that was the natural food store started by old college friend Clyde Mayfield, Greatest Grains, now a local landmark in town. Though he didn't play, Clyde's son, the spitting image of his dad, was there and part of the artist scene.
Local artists appearing, acoustic openers Esme Haferbier, who reminded my ride of Janis Joplin at various times in her musical selections, Karl Beatty, Pat Willis [and then his band], The Tritones [jazz band], Obie Bishop*, MRG*, and Earth Ascending*.
The atmosphere was home-style with picnic tables inside the FOE bingo hall section with homemade picnic food sold through a window and raffles between performers. BTW, Deep Pockets sends a 'Hello' to Jet, who secured the pool bar prize for the raffle drawing.
Davenport is roughly the same size as either Temecula or Murrieta.
(*- left before their set started)

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