Letters to the editor | Opening the view to the public
Thanks for your cover story on Lake Washington ("It Takes All Kinds," Sept. 16) and for mentioning the "pocket parks" created by the rights-of-way of streets like East Union and East Olive running to the water's edge — "giving everyday folk a sliver of the waterfront lifestyle that homeowners on either side of the parks pay fortunes to enjoy." It should be pointed out that, according to the city, there are 149 such shoreline street ends on Seattle's bodies of water.
Unfortunately, many of them remain closed to public use because the neighboring homeowners have incorporated them into their own property — a good example is just a few blocks north of the ones you cite, at East Mercer. (At least the city makes money off this practice, through permit fees.) Groups like Friends of Street Ends have been working to open up all this public property to the public — hopefully it won't be long before there are even more places for Seattleites to enjoy this wonderful lake the Vashon Glacier dug in our midst.
— Benjamin Lukoff, Seattle
We're living on the "farm land"
Interesting piece on the local stuff ("Home Grown," Aug. 19). The P-Patches were perhaps the first sign of this movement. But, one wonders a few things. Where might rice come from (a staple for a lot of Asian families, for example)? Where might most seafood come from? Certainly, we won't see halibut, cod, wild salmon, shrimp, etc., on our shelves, and the fish we do see will be pen-raised. Will we give up chickens and eggs? If we want them running free range, we'll need hundreds of thousands of acres to supply that particular item. If we want dairy that isn't chemically enhanced we'll need a lot of land that isn't available now. And a lot more cows means a lot more runoff and waste to manage. It is no shock that most dairies are now in Eastern Washington where there is still open space. Is Othello "local" to Seattle?
Nearly 3 million people live in and around the Seattle area. Most of them are living on the "farm land" that could have supplied them with food. Unless we're going to build condos several hundred stories high and reclaim the land from under a whole lot of buildings now in place, the "local" things will, I believe, remain a niche market, and the rest of us will go on buying things at QFC or the Queen Anne Thriftway or Top Foods.
My wife and I notice a few things about "local" food. For one thing, there are millions of pounds of blackberries around this area that nobody (or almost nobody) seems to harvest. If one had a small yard, one could grow intensely packed food plants (peas, for example) in small containers. Nobody seems to do this. It just seems very unlikely that the "local" thing will really provide a serious alternative to the mania we have for greater food variety at all times. It's a great movement for news coverage. It is not a seriously significant alternative to our current consumption method.
Our personal diet is basically organic, because we don't want the chemicals in us or the land. But, even if organic quintupled in sales (a worthy goal), it would amount to less than 8 percent of the market. That leaves 92 percent with chemicals being used. And, unless global warming succeeds (a bad concept, I know), we'll never see navel orange trees in Issaquah.
— Bernie Ryan, Olympia
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