Monday, 8 June 2009

Guerrilla Gardening

Life in modern Britain is often described as a series of dissociations. People have become estranged from public spaces, which have become the preserve of private business, of crime or of state surveillance supposedly in response to that crime. They have lost connection with their communities and with the origins of their food.

I can't offer a panacea that will fix all of these problems, but I have found a way to work against them: guerrilla gardening.

Guerrilla gardening takes place all over the world, and gardeners see their work in many lights: purely as art, or to press for reconsideration of land rights; to build communities and reclaim public space for the public; for the effect of beauty, humour or surprise; to provide fresh food for local people or even work towards self-sufficiency; or sometimes as part of a larger protest. At the London May Day protests in 2000, for example, Reclaim the Streets "repurposed [Parliament Square] as a gardening area, with rockeries, a village pond and tress and plants."

This afternoon, I met up with the Cambridge Guerrilla Gardeners group, who state on their Facebook group:
We want to make Cambridge beautiful (and maybe even vegetable producing). We're always looking for new people to help out and new places to plant things - join up or get in touch : )
A small corner of land by a busy intersection of roads, otherwise neglected and ignored, is now a beautifully haphazard collection of foxgloves, roses, onions, cabbages, swedes and poppies: it's a certain improvement.

For information and inspiration on guerrilla gardening, Guerilla is essential. Local groups abound and can be found by a quick web search. All you really need to get started with this grubby, hopeful movement, though, is a few seeds and a forgotten patch of dirt somewhere in your local area.

1 comment:

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