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Posts Tagged ‘guerrilla gardening’

The Guerrillas Strike Again.

Guerrilla Gardening: The reclaiming and beautification of underused or misused urban space, with or without permission.

The army was deployed at 23:00, armed with pink begonias, stinky old boots, a bike trailer,

and clever signage made from massacred conservative election signs (bahaha!).

Stay tuned for a telephone-pole-burlap-bag-planter blitz.

XOXOXO

Megan Mayhem

PS- Check out the book GUERRILLA GARDENING- A MANUALFESTO by DAVID TRACY. It will rock your socks off. From the book:

“As I went walking, I saw a sign there

And on that sign, it said “No Tresspassing!”

But on the other side, it didn't say nothin'
That side was made for you and me!!!"

		
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Well, the summer does fly. ‘Tis early August: I have only three weeks left in the formal position of collective garden coordinator, then school begins again.

The garden has had a good season so far, it seems to me. There is much to nibble on in the garden: dill, basil, kale, chickweed, radishes, lambsquarters, and soon peas, tomatoes and teas. The soils are productive, the compost is super-hot and working fast, and we have created a number of new beds for good growing next year. Part of the fence is up and divinely whimsical. The back corner of the garden has embraced the influx of strawberries and raspberries, and now awaits more native plants and climbing vines.

The water systems are fully functional and easy to use. A full tonne of water awaits any dryspell, and works well to rinse hands. (What is even more exciting for me is that I feel competent to create a three-barrel rainwater catchment system for anyone inexpensively. Indeed, I think that later on this year the Military Family Resource Centre, which hosts an urban garden project [with the EAC and Halifax Independant School], will invite us to facilitate an all-girl building party to install three raised rainbarrels for their summer water source! I do believe that access to water will be a vital necessity in the near future; being able to create a catchment system will be the first valuble step: learning how to cleanse the water will be the next.)

The garden has had about 250 kids through the garden, mostly from the SuperNova science and engineering kids camp! And I would say that 80% of those kids were actively engaged in their visits. So great! We have been nibbling, making compost and planting seeds. It has been fantastic, and truely made my summer rewarding.

But, while the physical structures of the garden are sound, the social structures that manage the garden are still needing care.

As you can see on the blog here, there has been nearly 1000 hits on the blog. In contrast, there have been about 35 people come through the garden during workparties and for workshops (aside from the kids, which I do not count as being there to attend the garden). Even if I assume those who have hit the blog hit it 5 times, and that 100 of those hits are accidental, the disparity between attendance and virtual numbers is huge. In speaking with people, most people have heard of the garden, and know when the workparty times are, and have been meaning to come down, but have not yet quite made it. I think that this speaks to modern life, where more of us can make time before a screen then being active in the real world.

A number of the 35 folks who have come by the garden have come repeatedly, and many many locals are beautifully dedicated to gardening, wild-harvesting, and living closely with our local plants for food and medicine, but still, I do not see enough investment by the community to feel at ease.

A sustainable social structure is necessary for the project to be healthy. I think there needs to be multiple groups using the site with enough frequency that learning, trust, and affection are continually shared and built.

How do we create such a dynamic social structure? What groups should we look to involve? What elements are holding people/groups back from developing investment in the project? What structures need to be in place in order to invite groups’ involvement?

First, do you, sweet reader, have any ideas? Who should or could be involved? How? What needs to be in place to facilitate this? And how do we contact them?

The ideas I am pursuing are the involvement of Dalhousie’s faculty and classes, some seniors groups, and youth (specifically the youth ‘at-risk’) that live nearby. Meetings are scheduled, and any suggestions are welcome.

The other ideas that I have begun to put out, and there is much interest about, is a Guerrilla-gardening+Wild-harvesting+BikeRide: Gypsy Gardening, or Land-Reclaiming, we might call it. (Ideas for a great name are welcome.) This group will meet at One World Cafe (on Agricola) Sunday mornings at 9am with bikes – all welcome. We will ride around and wild-harvest (there are so many medicines and foods growing wild in our urban landscape, available for free, waiting to be used and acknowledged). While we ride around, we will see plants strong enough to be propogated, and places (closer to home) that could be gardened. Slowly, we will pull the edges of the wild and productive land over the neglected lands, gardening everything, producing more free food and medicine. I also envision this mobile group as being able to check up on SeeMore Green, and the Dal Women’s Centre garden, offering some care and continuity to these gardens.

As I mentioned, there has been a tonne of interest in the Gypsy Gardeners idea. (First meeting, sunday the 12th, 9am, One World Cafe: all welcome). I think that one major draw of this idea its mobility, as well as the democratic format similar to Critical Mass. It seems that possibly SeeMore Green is too deep in the south end, too connected to Dal, to have the active community that it needs. I am hoping that by weaving other groups, such as academia, seniors, and youth, as well as our roaming band of wild-harvesting-guerrilla-gardeners, enough fine minds and hearts will pass through the garden to make it a fertile place to learn, and grow.

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Here are a bunch of tasty tidbits that have passed through across my screen lately that may be of interest.

First up, Spin Farming. Small Plot INtensive farming is a business model out of Saskatechewan to do successful organic market gardening in urban environments.  Here is a lovely article about it.

Second, SeeMore Green made the newspaper already.  Here is the link to that cute article.

And, out of BC, Every Lawn A Garden.  Hallelujah.  “The objective of “Every Lawn A Garden” is to help persons increase their capacity for gardening so that everyone can reach the stage of growing some of their own food supply”, because when the borders close and grid fails the Superstore is no longer so super.  This site is a fantastic compilation of resources.

I recently bought the book Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto! (What a juicy read.  The author, David Tracey speaking in Vancouver for Necessary Voices.

Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto 

"The term "guerrilla" may bring to mind a small band of armed
soldiers, moving in the dead of night on a stealth mission. In
the case of guerrilla gardening, the soldiers are planters, the
weapons are shovels, and the mission is to transform an
abandoned lot into a thing of beauty. Once an
environmentalist's nonviolent direct action for inner-city
renewal, this approach to urban beautification is spreading to
all types of people in cities around the world.

These modern-day Johnny Appleseeds perform random acts of
gardening, often without the property owner's prior knowledge
or permission. Typical targets are vacant lots, railway land,
underused public squares, and back alleys. The concept is
simple, whimsical and has the cheeky appeal of being a not-
quite-legal call to action. Dig in some soil, plant a few
seeds, or mend a sagging fence -- one good deed inspiring
another, with win-win results all around.

Guerrilla Gardening outlines the power-to-the-people campaign
for greening our cities."

And, last but not least, here is a link to an interview with Derrick Jensen in Common Ground, titled Mayday For the Planet.

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