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Claus Sterneck / Claus in Iceland
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Wolfgang Sterneck
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- Guerilla Gardening -
Guerilla Gardening is not a form of protest, however like many forms of protest Guerilla Gardening can empower the individual to be resourceful and self-reliant and to become a conscious part of the solution to many problems which face us both locally and globally.
If we are to ever truly take control over our lives then learning to produce our own food (DiY food production and distribution) is essential. Shaping and nurturing our surrounding environment is among the most powerful of symbols for starting to break free of the cycle of supply and demand, liberating us from the role of passive consumers dependent on the biological and social monoculture of our urban spaces and alienated from a real understanding of the nature of the world around us and the most important aspects of our day to day survival.
Of course the first prerequisite for growing our own food is land, the acquisition of which is financially beyond the means of most of us. With a lack of control of the land one of the greatest things most people have lost is a feeling of place and rootedness. Land has been commodified with exclusive property rights, distancing communities from their spaces. Capitalist-consumer culture severely limits our connection with the world, transforming us into consumers with minimal involvement in the growing of food and the management of previously common land.
However there are always liberated spaces existing outside of state space in which we can experiment in and work with. By taking control of growing our food and gardening, alternative visions and solutions can be put in place which seek to reduce the discords, artificiality, pollution, parasitic nature and ugliness of the urban environment. This is not about living a utopian or reclusive lifestyle but about personal development, education, and emphasising the need to reclaim our food and land resources from unsustainable practices. However, Guerilla Gardening is more than a land reclamation project, it also makes use of under-used or unused land, resources and skills.
What is required is the application of a little vision to the land around you: railway embankments, golf courses, carparks, overgrown bits of land at the work place etc. Then give a little thought to the surreptitious sewing of seeds - the only limits are those of your imagination! Herbs thriving on poor soils could be grown among thistles, rose bay willow herbs and boodle on desolate sites, a little known hole in a fence could give access to the local rich bastard's grounds -sew your seeds here among the undergrowth or venture further and indulge in some scrumping. How about the flower beds that adorn your town centre? You could grow your crops right in the heart of the consumer landscape.
Such secret gardens could be maintained with the minimum amount of effort, small amounts of compost carried in bags and weeds could be largely left alone as they provide camouflage for your activities. A morning's tour of a few camouflaged crops could supply you with a week's worth of crops, especially if you take advantage of all the free food that grows wild - nettles, ramsoms (wild garlic), dandelions, chickweed, nuts and berries and some mushrooms and fungi.
With increasing concern over the safety of chemically saturated industrialised food and especially the health, environmental and economic effects of GM foods; a desire to decrease dependence on large-scale producers controlling our diets; an attempt to reduce food miles, and exploitative means of production; and in an act of personal responsibility, a desire for greater self-sufficiency and to create local 'growing spaces' within the city, what is stopping us all from becoming one of the many human colonists rooting in the cracks and crevices of the disintegrating city and digging for revolution?
- May Day Plans... -
This year on May Day, in London, Reclaim the Streets is planning a mass Guerilla Gardening action. Armed with trowels, seeds and imagination the plan is to set on board an urban adventure at the threshold of nature and culture and garden everywhere and anywhere.
Picture thousands of Guerilla Gardeners, they have come to take back what was once theirs, to transform, a symbol of capitalism, to return urban landscapes to their real usefulness - as provider of food, as public space where people meet face to face, discuss and participate directly in the remaking of their own city.
Come along and come prepared to get your hands dirty. Bring with you everything you need to make a Guerilla Garden: a sapling, vegetable seedlings, flowers, herbs, subvert the packaging of capital: turn designer trainers into plant pots, traffic cones into hanging baskets...
Start Sowing The Seeds Now!
If you've never done it before, here's how... Pop the seeds in some seed compost (not essential but helps - most good soil does the job for most seeds), water a little, give them loads of light, inside the home on a warm window sill if possible and wait for them to germinate. With some it helps to poop a piece of plastic over them with an elastic band to secure but take it off once they've germinated. If they're in small containers transfer them to bigger pots. Almost anything can be used as a pot as long as it has drainage holes. Then water them a little more, watch them grow and make sure they don't die before May Day. Happy planting.

Article-Source: Earth First – Action Update Online – Number 67 – April 2000.


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