Community Gardens

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The Political Impact of Community Gardens

Richard Bartlett, transcribing Ezio Manzini:

"How do we transition to normality while maintaining the progressive values that animated the disruption? How does the behaviour of normal people doing normal stuff aggregate into a force that is challenging to the dominant extractive economy? Where is the creative synthesis between conservative and progressive?

He gave a simple example: community gardens.

In many parts of the world now, it’s normal for people to share a plot of land and grow vegetables together in the middle of the city. These are normal people doing it for their family. They’re not explicitly trying to challenge neoliberalism, and yet this activity is totally outside of the logic of mainstream economics.

It’s a kind of gently potent non-combative militancy.

Crucially, the community garden comes out of a dialogue between bottom-up and top-down organising. The city council or some association or municipal authority creates the regulatory space for a garden, and it is the normal people willing to do stuff that create the desire, plant the seeds, and share the harvest. The top and bottom are in balance." (