A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Trk�_ The.Supplement

The First Few Lines of The Last 10 posts in:
Castellano_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Trk�
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours || of past 30 days | of 2002 | of 2003 | of 2004 | of 2005 | of 2006 | of 2007 | of 2008

Syndication Of A-Infos - including RDF | How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) Us, Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (BAAM)* #5 - page 7 - Urban Gardening by Seth Thompson

Date Sat, 29 Dec 2007 12:03:16 +0200

Lets face it, we all know that we cannot liberate food or
eat out of the dumpsters forever. For the very obvious reasons that
it does not serve our dignity, our future generations, our health,
and in the end leaves us just as shackled to the very self-destroy-
ing spectacle that we are trying to overcome. Great, where do we
get our food? Well it is really common sense, the less distance
something travels, the less exploitation is involved in its arrival.
So logically, whatever you grow yourself or in your community is
the most morally delicious food. This is an article on how to start
doing this. With this article, and its companion (see next month's
issue), we will put together some useful ideas about how to use
the space we have and the resources available (i.e. zero money) to
produce your own sustenance. In this part we will define sustain-
ability - a word that has been diluted by the academics. Then I'll
show some principles we can use to work towards that concept.

Artwork by Cristy C. Road. See more at http://www.croadcore.org/

A quick shout out to Bill Mollison, who inspired much of
my own research into our planet. In his words: any system which
over its life-time produces enough to have created and maintained
itself is sustainable (Mollison). The majority of human activity on
the planet at the moment is unsustainable. It's heavily dependent on
the malicious over-use of materials and humans to maintain growth
or even a steady state. To reverse this yourself, you can begin to grow
your own food in your own space or a space you visit frequently. So
find some space; rooftops, empty lots, balconies, window sills and
walls. If you are lucky, then you have a yard, and if you are on the
streets, there is always guerrilla gardening. Essentially, we study
the properties of every space we encounter, and we optimize them
by design to create systems that are regenerating and create yield.
This leads us to a brief glimpse at some principles that will help
us learn how to approach life as neither consumer nor producer.
Now we are designers. What we exploit is the situa-
tion. So our first principle is that for each site there is a species
(plant-animal-bacteria-fungi) that wants nothing more than to live
there. All we have to do is put it there and make sure that its needs
are met, which we can do from another species (including our-
selves). For example, kampuchea mushrooms and yogurt love
the top of your fridge, and need fruit sweetened water and milk,
respectively. Or, you can put edible fruit vines on the sunny side
of your building, and make swales around them to catch water.
The next principle we'll look at is the use of the free energy
(rain, sun, wind). Here we observe where the rain flows to, where
our high winds are, and the direction of incoming light throughout
the year. This can include mechanical technology such as rainwa-
ter catches, or the regulation of house climate by the keen observa-
tion of temperature differentials caused by open windows. This
mechanization can include high-tech electricity generation by sun
and wind to power your anti-microsoft communication portal (sus-
tainability reaches these abstract levels too, but that is for another
article). Or, it can be bio-tech by harnessing this energy through
the use of living systems. For example, letting clovers cover our
plant beds because they use the sun and the wind to fix the nitrogen
in the soil for other plants, or by using specific trees or bushes to
direct wind to your aeolic generator and away from the tomatoes.
Next, boundaries are the places richest in life since spe-
cies can draw on two different systems, and material tends to col-
lect at the borders between the two (this too extends to other more
abstract systems). An example is the edge of a wooded area, which
offers wind protection and nutrients but also (depending on situ-
ation) offers more light than the woods itself. This also is shown
in the way leaves pile up at fences or over street drains, or border
cities that trade things that are illegal in their neighboring state.
Next if you look at nature you will see that plants grow to-
gether, not in straight lines of single species. So we imitate nature-
-go ahead and plant your carrots with your tomatoes, or plants with
small roots, such as kale or herbs, at the base of your potted trees.
Another principle is that all players in a system need in-
put and make output. Plants all have different nutrient and water
needs. You output solid waste (shit--seriously--not on you co-
mestibles, but at least on your smokables) (please be careful you
need to dry the stuff first--be sanitary [don't use shit if you eat
meat]). You out-put lots of food scraps which breakdown and be-
come great fertilizer. You also use (output) lots of water, which
can be collected and used to water plants and flush your toilets.
Which brings us to a final subject that supersedes prin-
ciples, but which is well worth your time to read: water and trees.
There is too much to say about both in a few sentences, but I'll
try. First, the world is becoming a desert--I've seen it in my life
time, hell I've seen it in the last few years. To those of you who
live north of 40 degrees or so, you have no problems (for now-un-
less you live in Boston or NY etc), but that doesn't relieve you of
the obligation to conserve and use well the water that you have
free access to. Second, there is no need for the world to become
a desert, there is plenty of water, it is all a matter of appropriate
storage and usage (check out the idea of swales). Trees offer the
most amazing, efficient means of storing water, being composed
of up to 95% water, and they condition all of the soil around them.
What's more, they are fractal surfaces that not only collect con-
densation, but act as a tonic (a substance that brings balance to a
system), heating and humidifying or cooling and drying. And in
the end they are the biggest engines of transpiration (a plant pro-
cess which releases water and oxygen into the air), providing rain
and tempering climates inland, while at the same time trapping
carbon (science's global warming scapegoat in the form of CO2).
So those are some neat principles you can use to study
your world and recreate it in, or close to your living space.
Obviously it is not the whole picture--but it's a start. Next
Month, I'll give you some hints on actually doing it for free.

* A General Anarchist Union in the Boston Area

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
By, For, and About Anarchists
A-infos-en mailing list

A-Infos Information Center