Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finding Zen in the Northside

What have I been up to, you ask? A WHOLE LOT!

I recently found my calling to work on community gardens in the North St. Louis community, and I couldn't be happier with my decision to answer that call. The amount of beauty and growth that I have experienced first-hand, in a matter of only 5 weeks, is indescribable.

My new buddy Jordan and me! What an awesome kid.

It's hard to say exactly how the Northside Community Garden came to fruition. I'll start with my personal story going back in time a bit. A few months ago I first learned of guerrilla gardening, and became really intrigued by the idea of it. I listened to my heart, and started doing some research on the topic. Fortunately, the library had a copy of "On Guerrilla Gardening" by Richard Reynolds, and further down the rabbit hole I went! I found this AWESOME definition of guerrilla in the book, and took note:
While regular soldiers are trained to be non-political, and must trust the motivations behind their commander's orders, guerrillas fight their own little wars. Guerrilla is commander and front-line soldier all in one.
BAD-ASS! What a powerful statement! Considering the current global economic, social, and environmental crises we face today, many of us are done "trusting the motivations behind the commander's orders". We've tapped into our potential as humans, and we are realizing it is up to us, the guerrillas, to stop obeying arbitrary rules and start creating lasting change that is based on necessity and food sovereignty, NOT globalization and profits.

So, I've come to see guerrilla gardening as both an amazing tactic that protests the destructive system based on competition while focusing on a productive system based on cooperation. We should be growing our own food instead of relying on corporations that mass produce and use dangerous chemicals in our food supply. It is SO much cheaper to grow food from seed than it is to frequent the grocery store. So, it has been incredibly reassuring to use guerrilla gardening to empower the people to make solid changes for the benefit for all, and what better way to build up and restore ourselves than getting our hands dirty and growing food together, as an organic community? =)

Annie, Veronica, and our new little helpers planting tomatoes and marigolds! <3 Check out those wicked clouds headed our way! Lightning struck the tree across the street from us, it was crazy intense!
"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." -Masanobu Fukuoka 

How perfect is that quote? I wholeheartedly agree, and highly recommend checking out this beautiful man and philosopher, what a great guy....

Anyway, thankfully for one of the most bad-ass women I've ever met, Arianna Norris Landry, she helped connect me with other kindred spirits in North St. Louis. A few of us met under a pavilion on March 24, 2012 in O'Fallon Park in North City for a planning meeting, and the rest is history (in the making!)

Arianna, a little helper, and myself getting ready to plant right before the storm hit!
When I am working in the Northside Garden, not only do I feel safe, but I feel Zen. Being amongst my new friends in this beautiful community brings me spiritual relief in the midst of all the chaos. It's unlike any other spiritual gathering I've ever been a part of. We are all there working side-by-side together as equals, where no one person is in charge. The people who show up in the Northside, week after week, give me so much hope in the entire human family. SO MUCH HOPE. I can truly say these people are my family, and I love growing with them! I am very excited to see what our future holds, and I am so proud of our success so far.


Cutting the birthday cake Arianna's son Tristan made, it was soooo delicious!
Thanks for the sign, Zee-Man!
"Salsa Garden"

Johnathan, Brien, and Joy

The day we broke ground! Can you believe the progress so far?
Red Bud Avenue and Carter Avenue, before we turned it into the Northside Community Garden
Thanks for reading!
<3 Please leave comments? <3

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