Birmingham City Council just adopted a new ordinance to encourage residents to turn vacant lots into garden plots (under some regulations).
Ama Shambulia works with the West End Community Garden: “Food is fundamental. You know, it’s fundamental to everything we do. If food ain’t happenin’, ain’t nothin happenin’.”
It’s not a perfect law- some of the restrictions are too much, but garden activists are working to change them.
I miss Birmingham this week. I ate better in Alabama than anywhere else. (Thanks to Jen at Freshfully for the link!)
Today I learned that it is illegal in Alabama to brew your own beer! The ABC raided the Birmingham location of Hop City last night, a small craft beer and wine store, and removed all of the brewing equipment.
From the Free The Hops site:
The Code of Alabama, Â§28-1-1, prohibits the possession of any type of equipment used for the production of alcoholic beverages. It further prohibits the possession of any form of alcohol that was made illegally. As such, homebrewing is effectively illegal in Alabama.
“In all counties of the state it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to have in his or its possession any still or apparatus to be used for the manufacture of any alcoholic beverage of any kind or any alcoholic beverage of any kind illegally manufactured or transported within the state or imported into the state from any other place without authority of the alcoholic control board of the state, and any person, firm or corporation violating this provision or who transports any illegally manufactured alcoholic beverages or who manufactures illegally any alcoholic beverages shall, upon conviction, be punished as provided by law.” Â§28-1-1
As with a number of other beer-related restrictions, Alabama finds itself in very small company with its prohibition of homebrewing. Only three other states - Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma - have similar prohibitions. Alabama’s homebrewers organized and introduced legislation to remove this restriction in the 2009 legislative session. Though this bill did not get brought up for a vote, the Alabama homebrewing community has vowed to continue to fight for its passage in future legislative sessions, and has introduced legislation to change it. FTH supports the repeal of this restriction.
Well, here’s another political issue all Birminghamians can agree on. (Also, how embarrassing! Out of state business came to Alabama and before they could even open their doors, the ABC was taking things away from them.)
I was riding the elevator to my apartment after biking home from a hard workout at the crossfit gym near my house. Streaming sweat, I tried to move very little, fearing that my body odor might be unpleasant and noticeable to the older woman riding the elevator with me. I’ve seen her before, and I’ve always gotten the impression that I make her uncomfortable.
She looked at me sidelong, and said something quietly.
“I’m sorry, what?” I asked.
“I run,” she repeated with shy pride, toying with the swarovski crystals looped around her wrist.
“Oh?” I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Not very fast,” she added quickly. “I probably run as fast as most people walk! But I can do three miles. You know, slowly.”
“Three miles is great!”
“Yeah, but it’s slow. It makes me feel better, though.”
“That’s what’s important,” I said, as she got off of the elevator at her floor. I wish she hadn’t torn herself down, but I’m glad she’s running, glad she’s proud, and glad she told me.
I talk about Play On Con all the time on facebook and twitter, but I never talk about it here. POC is a Birmingham-based scifi/fantasy fandom convention, and it’s become one of my favorite events. (Full disclosure: the event director is also my partner, and I’m on the promo team.)
Anyway, if you’re in Birmingham, you should check us out. There are shows and games and parties and music. If you were a goth kid in the 90s or the 00s, you might be excited to hear Voltaire will be there. (At POC 3, a pool party erupted and he and I were floating and talking, and he stole and consumed my entire drink. My inner 18 year old was so excited and pleased.) There will also be costuming, and that is the part I am most excited about, aside from seeing my friends who live outside of Birmingham. I have a Six dress and a few other things I will be wearing for the first time at Play On Con.
It’s a week away, and I cannot freakin’ wait. And if you find this post and you come to POC, ask around to find Katie Jam: I’d love to meet you!