I met Mikael Jahmal at Spring Ridge Commons in August of 2011. Mikael was sitting by the Herb Spiral enjoying his ganja (aka marijuana) and we struck up a conversation when I had forgotten my water bottle while working in the Commons and went back into the garden to retrieve it. We got to talking about the sad state of herb spiral, even after students hired by the Fernwood NRG had taken a stab at reviving it; It was still in need of serious de-grassing. Somehow I was able to persuade Mikael to help me out with this or perhaps he volunteered (I’m not sure which). Anyways, what resulted was absolutely mind-blowing – I was amazed at Mikael’s strength in lifting 100+ lbs boulders, and in uncovering concrete perhaps from the old school house that was on site, etc. Our de-grassing and de-rocking work was considerably more challenging than we had initially envisioned and we ended out taking down the herb spiral and reconstructing it with the existing rock, concrete, etc. The results being a spacious beautifully designed culinary herb spiral which was completed in September 2011.
Mikael had continue to volunteer and work on several other projects at Spring Ridge Commons – Restoration of the Bee Garden in August 2011 and he did a lot of work in Spring + Summer of 2012 at Spring Ridge Commons from sheet-mulching, to helping out with the clearing of overgrowth, to extensive work in path-building (his passion for stone masonry was reflected in his aesthetic placement of stones on pathways), to the discovery and installation of the Telephone Pole painted by our friend Sean Newton who later became Spring Ridge Common’s Site Manager, to the movement and redesign of a stone bed for bee-friendly plants, to arranging and supervising the transport of the Crack in the Armour Structure to Spring Ridge Commons in addition to stewardship duties (i.e. regular watering at Spring Ridge Commons).
We also worked together in the temporary reclamation of a guerrilla garden in Spring + Summer 2012 which we referred to as Rainbow Commons located in nearby Haegart Park directly across from the Fernwood Urban Village. While Mikael was working at Rainbow Commons, he struck up a conversation with a reporter who was doing a travel piece about Fernwood for the New York Times. He introduced her to me and had me show Spring Ridge Commons to her. A month later, a photographer from the New York Times appeared in Fernwood asking at the Fernwood Community Association Office where Spring Ridge Commons was located. This resulted in a photo taken at Spring Ridge Commons with a caption in “A Creative Corner” in the New York Times Travel Section plus a map indicating where Spring Ridge Commons is located.