Is gardening political?

Allotment, end of May 2006 Whilst working in the garden, there is lot of time to think. So, I can’t help comparing my life at the moment to my life last year in May, when the preperation for the anti-G8 mobilisation were running high. Working in the garden is actually quite destressing, and it is nice to see at the end of the day what has been achieved. It is also satisfying to eat your own, self-grown, organic vegetables and fruits.
Also, it makes me happy to share my products, such as rhubarb, and to exchange seeds and seedlings. The other day, an allotment neighbour offered me some mint and lemon balm plants, and I have already planted them in. They looked yesterday a bit sad to have lost their original location, but I hope they recover well. But I was quite happy to give away some pumpkin and courgette plants to another allotment neighbour. The engineer is happy for me to use lots of his collected rainwater, and someone else borrowed me their lawnmower, whilst as the other day a borrowed wheelbarrow came in really helpfull.
The other thing I noticed, is that nearly everbody working in their allotment, has got a helpfull, hands-on, practical approach, and seems to be quite nice and friendly.

So I was wondering if gardening is political as such, or in which circumstances. What about guerilla gardening [1 | 2] ? And the community gardens? What about the Cre8 Garden at the G8? And the communes which are based around self-sufficiency and permaculture?
But then gardening isn’t a revolutionary concept or tactic. But then – with genetically modified food around us, soya plants now destroying the rainforest as animal food (and to be mean: also for vegetarians meat/milk substitutes..), and Monsanto trying to outlaw rasing new plants from their seeds, patenting/trying to patent plants such as rice; gardening even could be.

But then, gardening as such is quite traditional.
Also, I heard somewhere, that the balance has recently tipped from the amount of food produced being sufficient enough for all people on this earth (theoretically). Meaning the number of people has increased so much, that even in theory not everybody would have to eat enough. Not sure how they actually calculated it. Don’t think allotment would impact much on this statistics though it is a good supply of food.
The other things worth considering is the ecological impact of allotments on wildlife, recreation, environment.
And people’s health: not only being encouraged to eat more nutritous veg and fruit, but also the recreational and psychological value. And there is usually not much weed- and bugkiller and other chemical residues on the food because it is not grown in a monoculture.


Comment by brib on 2006-05-28 16:55:26 +0100

I think urban (guerilla) gardening can be a quiet interesting way of promoting anarchist ideas (mutality) to ppl.
It is however a nice way to show ppl. how direct action works (“we don`t want it so grey” » lets have a garden here)

Oh and you seem to got a nice gardening community 😉

Comment by b on 2006-06-03 01:55:03 +0100

Brib’s is such a typical ’Bring The Light To The Knuckle-Dragging Cavemen In Their Boring Clothes’ middle-class anarchist attitude.

Faced with someone who brings such attitudes, most sensible people

a) run a mile, or
b) maybe they tolerate them as naive well-meaning souls, if they don’t twig the depth of the patronisingness, or
c) maybe they tolerate them even if they DO detect the patronisingness, and generously decide to give the naive politico ’promoter’ a chance to get rid of their patronisingness (in, what’s that word again, oh yes, ’practice’ – NOT ’promotion’ or ’propaganda’). A chance to wise up and become less neurotic and compulsive. Less of a politico.

Gardening is probably the number one hobby for millions of working class people in the UK. ’Promote’ anarchist ’ideas’, indeed! It would be better to try to learn from people.

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