Stir It Up
Second-guessing that apple orchard with Mulenga Haragua
Published: June 6, 2012
"Do they come into your garden?"
"From time to time, I have to keep an eye out for them and don't leave ripe produce lying around. I definitely have to keep them out of my chicken coop."
"That's what you have to do. Actually, I called up the Michigan State University Extension Service Hotline and talked to a horticulture agent named Gretchen Voyle. She says that any orchard that is properly cared for shouldn't be a problem. Rats don't climb trees to eat green fruit. They eat fruit that has fallen to the ground. As long as they pick up all the fruit, there shouldn't be any problem beyond any other kind of tree in the park. I got a message from PFPP saying that they plan to pick fruit and leave none behind."
"Think they'll do it?"
"That's another question entirely," I sighed. "They might do it this year; they might do it next year. The question is: Are they going to do it perpetually? This orchard is part of some kind of 25-year plan they have. But sometimes things that start out with the best of intentions go off track."
"So what are they going to do with the apples?"
"They plan to donate them, sell them, let folks pick them and feed them to the Mounted Police horses that are housed at the park. Now Gretchen Voyle says that feeding any significant amount of apples to horses is not a good idea. It causes colic."
"What did the City Council say?"
"Council told them to talk to each other and come up with a compromise. I hope they can. With all the community gardens in town and various plans for urban agriculture, the issue is going to come up again until we get this all settled."
"I guess this could affect me and my garden."
"I don't think it's going to be an issue for you as long as you are on System D. It's when you come out of the shadows and go legit that you have these issues."
"Well I am on System D but sometimes I dream about having a real farm."
I watched a rat nosing around some nearby bushes. None of those apple trees had produced fruit yet, but we have rats regardless.
"I got to get going," said Mulenga. "Before all this lettuce wilts in the heat. Nobody wants wilted lettuce."
As he pedaled away I thought, even on System D you have to worry about quality control, inventory and servicing your customers well. It's not so different from the regular economy.
Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and
former editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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