Blog

Blog

Natural Trailside First Aid

In October, I completed a field training with Jen Dalke of Blue Heron Nature Skills reviewing the first-aid uses of plants readily growing in Western PA. We identified different natural medicines and discussed preparation methods to activate their medicinal properties. Many of the plants are multi-use, with effects ranging from stopping bleeding to clearing parasites from the body and providing food in a pinch. I have compiled a brief list of plant medicines accessible in Western PA and suggested methods…

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Year End Appeal (2019)

The spirit of Hazelwood can be found in its community of multi-generational residents, many of whom put down roots during the bustling era of the steel industry. Although the steel mills have closed and families have migrated due to economic collapse, Jourdan Hicks (she/her/they), a life-long resident of Hazelwood, foresees the community is “on the precipice of a new day.” The uninhabited lots left behind, legacies of a changing economy, represent plots of untapped potential. In partnership with Grounded, Jourdan…

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Herbal Medicine Making

In an introductory course lead by Melissa Soto of Cutting Root Farm and Apothecary and hosted by the Garfield Community Farm, participants learned how to extract the medicinal supplements of plants through mediums like syrup, honey, alcohol, oils/salves, and teas. For the purpose of the course, we prepared medicine from the fruit of Rhus typhina, commonly known as staghorn sumac, which is easily identified by its bright red and fuzzy, cone-shaped clusters of fruit. The staghorn sumac is fairly common…

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TRUSS: Masoud’s Takeaways

The second annual Three Rivers Urban Soils Symposium (TRUSS) was a wonderful event where soils experts from around the United States gathered to collectively discuss the unique characteristics and challenges of urban soils. An eclectic gathering of "dirt-worshippers" and "tree-huggers" all deeply concerned with revitalizing our urban environments through careful stewardship of soils, the presenters included individuals from academia, farmers, remediation specialists, and worm ranchers (among others). Even though the attendees and presenters came from such a diverse array of…

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Enviornmental Justice Town Hall Experience

Project Coordinator, Odera Igwe, attended the Environmental Justice Town Hall meeting in Philly and below are the main takeaways from her experience On November 2nd, 2019 I attended the APHA Environmental Justice Town Hall in Philadelphia PA. This town hall was an opportunity for Environmental Justice leaders all around the country to come together and discuss the Environmental Justice (EJ) issues they have encountered in their communities. The main objective of this town hall was to improve the understanding of…

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Community Keystones

Blog by Sean Cuff, Policy Fellow In early August, I interviewed CommunityCare Steward and long-time Larimer resident Tab Duckett outside his adopted lots near Thompson and Joseph Streets. He and his lawnmower have been fixtures of the community, and represent the outsized role neighbors have had to take on to keep their blocks maintained. He was born and raised in the neighborhood. In between at least ten horn honks, waves, and “hey there’s” with passersby, we talked about how the…

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RVP Reflection Series: Shequaya’s POV

The Grounded team attended the Reclaiming Vacant Properties (RVP) Conference in Atlanta at the beginning of October. During their time at the conference, the team learned valuable information that they would like to share! The following video is Shequaya sharing her experience at the conference.

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RVP Reflection Series: What did Masoud see?

Throughout my experience at the Reclaiming Vacant Properties (RVP) conference in Atlanta this year, I encountered a storm of new, fresh, and different ideas about how to address many of the concerns generated by cycles of disinvestment within 'rust belt' cities. Beyond these techniques though, I think the far more valuable treasure gleaned at this event comes in the form of contacts and relationships with other folks performing similar work in parallel with Grounded across this country. Their insights, challenges,…

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RVP Reflection Series: Ashley’s Experience

Author: Ashley Seiler Upon entering the RVP convention I was blown away by the number of people that were in attendance. After mingling and a quick look at the art exhibit displayed, I headed to one of the many sessions. The session that resonated with me the most was Community-Driven Visioning to Reclaim Vacant Properties in Fort Wayne and Philadelphia. The two presenters that stood out most to me during this session were Rena Bradley and Alexa Boss. I enjoyed…

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RVP Reflection Series: Odera’s Takeaways

Author: Odera Igwe The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) was a national conference dedicated to creating community cohesion through new strategies to transform vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties into community assets. This conference was a great opportunity for me to meet people all over the US who specialize in different aspects regarding the revitalization of vacant land; law, youth engagement, community advocacy, architecture, and more. The first session I attended was Community-Driven Visioning: A design thinking approach, and was probably…

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Planting Seeds for the Future

Pittsburgh, as the nation within which it resides, has a storied past awash with inequality. Both here and in the United States at large, a great deal of this inequity stems from the fact that the means of production (mainly land) are controlled by a small number of people relative to the total population. Historically, this has been the case for just about as long as this country has existed. As our worries mount in the face of climate instability,…

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