I work out of an office in FEED Kitchens, the hub for Northside Planning Council (NPC) projects. In the summer, everything is sticky: the air and the people working elbow to elbow in offices, kitchens, dish-rooms. Kitchen fragrances knot together and linger, tugging themselves from room to room on the threads of thick air. The energies of movement and stillness entwine like the perfect summer storm.
You can smell it, hear it and taste it at FEED, but you can also see it in this issue of the Northside News, in the scarcity and abundance that summer brings.
Much of the work for the August/September issue happens in July, but the seeds of this work are planted even earlier. In this issue, we see the fruits of a long winter emerge. The work feels both sparse — phone calls reach unanswered numbers as people flock outside and deadlines slip by unnoticed — and very full.
For NPC, fullness means that projects are showing the results of months of activity. We welcome the Neighborhood Navigators, bid farewell to operations at Oscar Mayer and entrench ourselves further in the work of strategic planning. MarketReady stretches itself to embrace an overflow of applicants.
At the Northside Farmers Market, this fullness is literal. The fruit (and the sweet corn) is real. Elsewhere, the accomplishments of earlier plans and plantings are celebrated with small moments: anniversaries (congratulations to Rev. Hart and Healthy Food for All); inaugural announcements from businesses and organizations like Madison Oriental Market, the Willy Street Co-op-North, Independent Living and Goodwill. Students celebrate scholarships. Northsiders celebrate new jobs. A letter to the editor, available online, welcomes Mrs. and Mr. Holmes to the neighborhood.
The summer bustle of the Northside is many small pieces brought together. And in the few moments of stillness — as the Northside mourns the lives of two young men taken too soon by gun violence and a community questions how to respond — we can find abundance within the same community: within the support shown and the conversations held with neighbors; within the plans, already beginning, for another summer’s fruit.