For Corn’s Sake

dcircle.jpgPaid my second visit this afternoon bringing my wife Susan for her first visit to the cornfield at the Not A Cornfield Project between Chinatown and Lincoln Heights. Beyond getting hassled by The Man (actually it was just a rent-a-theman) for checking out the apparently off-limits pomegranate trees at the far northern end of the property, and getting pissed off that my digicam’s batteries decided to fade, there was still good fun to be had. I caved into the urge to charge off the path and headlong deep into the narrow rows of 10-foot high, ear-laden cornstalks (not recommended for any clautrophobes), and by the time we’d done a lap around the amazing maize, the weekly drum circle had gotten underway within the “eye” of the corn and we grooved to the communal rhythms emanating there for awhile.

People can debate all they want about the project’s artistic relevance, and it’s all just blahblahblah. To me, it’s brought living photosynthesizing beauty to previous deadspace, and its uniqueness is drawing people together who wouldn’t otherwise ever set their parking brake in that part of town. And the cool juxtaposition of acres of corn waving against the backdrop of downtown’s skyline make it a place that should be seen รณ especially before the harvest starts at the end of the month.

7 Replies to “For Corn’s Sake”

  1. Wht I don’t understand about the Cornfield Project is, last night I drove on Alameda right past the Project. It was about 11pm at night and there were a ton of cars all parked at the Project. What on earth are people doing wandering in a 6-7 foot tall maze of corn in the middle of the night in pitch blackness? This is beyond weird.

  2. Pardon my ignorance but are they going to let (let’s say “poor”)people EAT this corn when they harvest it? Or am I just being obtuse?

  3. Ruth, that is an aspect I’ve been scratching my head about as well. From what I’ve gathered (mainly from the Not A Cornfield website) the type of crop that’s been planted, while fit for consumption, is purportedly not very tasty. Instead they plan to harvest the corn, dry it out, display it and then use it to make some type of containers.

  4. Call me stupid or maybe even old fashioned, but with poverty and hunger in our fair city being a real problem, isn’t it just plain STUPID to grow a crop you can’t eat?

    When I first heard about people putting a cornfield on the edge of downtown I thought the point of the project was, “Hey, even in the harsh cityscape we can grow food and feed the hungry.”

    What an idiot I am.

  5. The primary reason the corn is not intended to be eaten is that the land is/was considered contaminated after years of use as a railroad depot. Some of the corn planted in the “Eye” has been and will be consumed but it is “eat at your own risk”. The mayority of the crop will be used for other purposes such as biodegradable packaging and possibly biofuels.
    I totally agree that we have to create ways to produce food within our cities. What this project does is show that there are ways of using former brownfields to create local industries, energy and beauty all at once.

  6. Thanks for the clarification Juantara. I figured it could have something to do with the soil, and I also considered that it might be for the increased cost that would come with maintaining and maximizing a crop for consumption.

  7. Wow, Ruth666, I guess your indignation was completely misplaced. Well done. It takes a real Guilty Von Guilterkins to rise (or is that sink?) to your level of passive-aggressive crap.

    Let’s see:

    “Pardon my ignorance but are they going to let (let’s say “poor”)people EAT this corn when they harvest it? Or am I just being obtuse?”

    Yes, your ignorant sarcasm means you were being obtuse.

    “Call me stupid or maybe even old fashioned, but with poverty and hunger in our fair city being a real problem, isn’t it just plain STUPID to grow a crop you can’t eat?”

    Yes, your sarcasm has resulted in you looking stupid. Not old-fashioned, because then you might take a moment to think about things before spouting off.

    “What an idiot I am.”

    But I guess that would be too much to ask from someone so quick to fake-insult themselves for no good reason.

    I’m sorry your upbringing made you think this sort of behavior acceptable, but you are an adult now in the real world. Please get some therapy or whatever and stop thinking that farting is a valid means of expressing your opinions.

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