Go, Seattle! That’s how to do a Community Garden!

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San Francisco Happenings: An Empty Lot Blossoms into a Beautiful Community Art Garden

This is a brilliant record of a community garden from woe to go. I am hoping to do something similar for Equilibrium Future Solutions amazing Natural Gardens which we have enjoyed watching emerge from nothingness.

Theresa Buoy

A sunny warm San Francisco Saturday unfolded like a picnic blanket on the grass at Dolores Park.

Today’s main event was a Alice in Wonderland themed tea party fundraiser for the Please Touch Community Garden, a creative space that was founded by one of my dearest friends, GK Callahan, artist and MFA student at the California College of the Arts.

I can still remember in January 2010, when GK and I, were vacationing in Mexico, and he received the news that he had the green light to plant this seed of a project. His vision was expansive- to turn a run down, needle-strewn vacant lot across the street from City Hall, into a community garden, when everyone, including the blind community from the LightHouse for the Blind across the street could come and enjoy the sun.

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Above: A photo of artist GK Callahan and myself in 2011 at the lot.

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Hope in a Changing Climate

Hope in a Changing Climate

Can we clean up our catastrophic messes? Can huge companies want to learn beside us and contribute to correcting historical environmental faux pas? Can we work co-operatively to come up with sensible long-term solutions and to avoid future large scale degradation? Is it as simple as including quality of life and environmental factors into calculations of the “value” and the “cost” of any proposed actions.

I have watched with interest several videos regarding re-greening deserts. I am impressed with how humans can work together to restore depleted (or, in some cases, all but deleted) ecosystems to abundance and, with that restoration, the livelihoods and quality of life of communities.
desert to abundance pic
We, as humans, are a plague and a blight on this planet. We on mass range from totally indifferent to our surroundings to so sensitive we will stop at nothing to stop everything. We need to realise that each of us contributes to the mess we have made. None of us is blameless just because we didn’t educate ourselves on the components that make up our technology or didn’t realise that our homes were built on what used to be the best agricultural land in the district, etc.

We pigeon-hole, de-personify and generalise others (and ourselves) so that we are less likely to band together in agreement and community. “Keep away from the Greenies and the Activists” and “Corporations and Governments are just out to get us”. Although there will always be those that we disagree with or who we believe (rightly or wrongly) are not acting in the best interest of humans or the planet, displaying similarly destructive and disruptive traits probably doesn’t help the cause.

I just reckon if US got together with THEM, that would be a whole lot of hands to do good work. Pretty sure that, if we could all see the good in others and speak calmly and clearly (assertively, not aggressively) we would get a lot more achieved. Win, win for all and the planet and the animals and the soil and the economy….. dreamer me!

Equilibrium! Nature swings on the pendulum, but eventually all the forces and variables bring about an equilibrium. Humans fight equilibrium because we don’t want any change (we want seasonal produce all year round; we dredge channels, fill in wetlands and build break-walls instead of sitting and watching while nature does the repairs and maintenance. We value ourselves, money and our un-necessary wants above all else.

All our actions (and inactions) bring about the very change we tried to avoid, incredibly fast. We are our own worst enemy!

There are stereotypical responses – whether these responses originate from personal experience, education, indoctrination, anecdotal evidence or mere conjecture:
1) success is money and power; to be without money is to hold no power
2) the flip side: anyone with money or with power will wield it against those without.

There are definitely instances to support some generalisations, but none of them help anyone. Many people of humble means are strong and proud of their achievements and others, should the cards they are dealt lead that way, might become wealthy or be in a position of power or authority. For example: an activist who wishes to stand up for the people might well become a politician. Many simple products have become best-sellers and so the creators and authors and designers achieve commercial and perhaps even corporate “success”. Should these people then remove the white hat and put on the black hat????

You would think we could not glorify both power and the virtues of poverty, though it would seem we do. It would appear, to me, that each activity humans undertake seems to hold a value (sometimes monetary, sometimes sentimental/patriotic/spiritual….) and while eeking a living some find that others value their activities and are willing to pay (currency, homage, in kind, etc). However, those that would outwardly appear to be of common thought and who would appear to hold similar values are most likely to separate and segretate than to co-operate and bind their power or their wealth to benefit local, national or global community.

Where there are established community groups and, all of a sudden, a new one appears, there is often consternation and much pointing and shaking of heads. Perhaps the new one is of persons less experienced; wanted to do things a different way; maybe not even aware of the existing group. The logical action would be for one to contact the other and compare notes and see if the two groups can compliment each other’s activities or even join forces on larger projects. In reality, this type of co-operation is rare to unheard of.

There appears to be pockets of community, pockets of activity and pockets of influence. In all of these there are pockets being filled. Too many pockets; each with their own agenda and looking for their own outcomes.

It is easy to click ‘like’ on some global activism or against some authority but, to see the problem and to be the solution the tables need to turn and those seeking change will be the authority…will then the followers click ‘like’ on their solutions. Anarchy is very unlikely to solve the world’s ills; it will most certainly allow for heightened graft and corruption to ensue behind the crazy facade.

I have no answer to these questions. I am just blurting out what has come to my eyes, ears and heart recently.

A few articles I had read and a few conversations I had had brought me to a state in which I found myself seeing proud, profit-driven agendas across all levels of society, across all lands and across the future visions of many otherwise ‘good’ people. Perhaps it will pass and I’ll get back to wondering if I could flog some vegies down the farmer’s markets or start making cupcakes in hopes of being the next great business success story? Perhaps I will trust the companies that say that they are doing their best to strive for good environmental outcomes and rise up with them against those that don’t? Perhaps my government and yours will see what is happening across the globe and realise that no amount of duck-shoving (a term my Dad used to use, seems appropriate) or double-talk will turn the people away from bringing about complete and sustainable (don’t even like using the ‘words’ anymore as they are all becoming catch cries for politicians and marketers – oh, hypocrisy, now I’m generalising!

Anyway, my soapbox blah has certainly got in the way of my introduction to these uplifting videos and articles on a communities that have succeeded in bringing about startling and broadscale change; some light reading or watching material for your enjoyment. Sorry!

Trailer for Hope in a Changing Climate:

An article  by Dr Mercola (includes two videos) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/20/ecosystem-restoration.aspx?e_cid=20130420_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130420

The Open University and Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) – Hope in a Changing Climate.