While we're on the subject organic and urban gardening:
No lesser a pop personage than Ann Powers, music critic of the L.A. Times, recently opined on Facebook that urban farming is the new indie rock. Ann, who is a friend, is not the type to keep backyard hens, though many of her friends are certain to do so.
So, decently produced food is groovy/indie now. Even the crankiest among us should hardly be annoyed by that. I mean, who has a secret love for square tomatoes? Though I have to admit ambivalence at the idea that growing onions is cool.
Still, I am delighted to learn that we are getting a greengrocery on Echo Park's Gallery Row -- which now has a coffee house, the grocery cum-general store El Batey, a hair salon/gallery, a real estate office, a by-appointment clothing designer, two vintage boutiques, a pet supplies store, and one or maybe two empty spaces. Instead of having turned into the shadow of a cool gallery moment ten years ago, the Echo Park Avenue strip of storefronts is dynamic in a mature and unusual way that seems organic to the neighborhood.
Marta Teegen, who is known to many in the urban gardening world for her Homegrown brand of classes and other edible-garden-related products, will be the purveyor of the new shop. Teegen says its name will be Cookbook, and she could not provide an opening date because the permitting process is still underway.
In an email, I asked about the name Cookbook, and Teegen mentioned cooking and food, but she did not say that books would be a major part of the endeavor.
My hope is that Cookbook will be a viable place to shop on a budget, not a food boutique -- or not only a food boutique. Right now, the only place to get organic or non-spray produce in Echo Park is the farmer's market on Fridays. The Echo Park Farmer's Market is reasonably priced, and its vendors accept food stamps. It brings people together, as the best markets should do.