Yesterday a few of us attended a workshop on urban permaculture, rooftop gardening, and how it relates to social ecology conducted by a group aptly titled "Rooftop Gardens" that operates out of French Canadia. We had hoped for a practical workshop but were pleased enough to talk about why gardens make us feel good with others. The basic premise of social ecology as presented in this workshop was to view human interaction and society in general as an externalized part of the ecosystem. Since humans make up the largest part of the biomass of urban areas (save perhaps trees) the energetic properties generated by systems of social exchange have very tangible effects on the overall movement of energy within the system. How do the use of automobiles and factories, or the food transport infrastructure relate to ideas of entropy, homeostasis, complexity, diversity, etc. ... In addition, seemingly abstract concepts such as freedom and equality, happiness and community begin to take on more physical meanings. We talked for a while about the idea of the garden as a place of power, or as a generator, fostering a sense of community, independence security, increased sense of time and connection to the physical body, connection to the earth, as a neutral or safe space, or a space of nonconsumption, rare in the city, as a sanctuary or refuge, as a form of therapy, as a source of food, as a way to relieve the economic burdens of caring for a family, as a way for working people to eat cheap abundant organic food on a consistent basis, as a way to wean ourselves off the transportation infrastructure based on the oil economy and exploitative systems of trade.
These discussions culminated in a killer bilingual skit, performed by our group, in which Adam played a punk with a closed heart who could see people working in the garden but could not participate because he was too busy fronting. A righteous dude named Achmed (of Ethiopian descent but haveing recently completed a degree in forestry in Montana and representing crucially snowboarding culture) suggested that we have someone play a seed, and that the said should grow. He volunteered to be that seed. Ask Tim to narrate this hilarious conversation for you at a later date. I played the narrator and the sun and was bashful but did a good job. Is "totalmente whack" an acceptable phrase in spanglish? Achmed freestyled a rad little dancehall style ditty as he grew, and eventually Adam saw how awesome seeds are and we had a dance party in the street.
Life is what you make of it
try to make the best of it
the seeds you sow
the fruit that grows
why would you ever go around it
We recieved a standing ovation.