Intercultural Community Gardens

Working the soil together has allowed many to use their knowledge and abilities for the first time in an international context, creating a field of learning that goes far beyond planting and harvesting garden produce

People and plants conference

People and plants conference at Cambridge University, June 26 - 27, 2014

Dr Elizabeth Hsu on diversity, commonality and “thinginess”:

I am inspired by 17th century Chinese philosophers who spoke of shi, the propensity of things (Jullien 1995), and 20th century phenomenologists who spoke of a frighteningly similar concept, affordances (Straus, Gibson, Leder, etc.), which STS has recently taken up.

These concepts direct the researcher’s attentiveness to the thing, and its thinginess, suggesting that the effectiveness of a thing is given in its material configurations and the demands those put on its surroundings.

It would appear that in certain situations people interact with their environments in seemingly unmediated and direct ways that seem to respond more to the situational constellation and material condition than anything else.

Thinking of Italian botany

Bhu Devi

Images of Mother Earth. 

Bhū Devī is our mother. Nothing would exist without her. 
The entire world depends upon her for sustenance and life.
She is often depicted holding a pomegranate, a water vessel, a bowl containing healing herbs, and another containing vegetables.

Alfonso and Anna’s story is about love, about giving and about their garden. 

We all know the Italian Backyards, in fact I grew up next to one. Fruit and vegetables from the front yard to the back yard. The wooden sticks where the tomatoes grow. The fig tree, the olive tree, the lemon tree. The early rising and the amount of produce. Unfortunately it’s a dying art. The children of these gardeners aren’t carrying out the gardens with as much passion and gusto and most essentially TIME. Everyone’s too busy.

From  My Backyard, Your Backyard.

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Il documentario “My backyard, your backyard”, prodotto dall’Itsowel di Wollongong e Why Documentaries, racconta la storia di alcuni emigranti italiani e il loro orto di casa. Per molti l’orto è diventato il ponte culturale attraverso il quale si sono avvicinati ai loro vicini di casa australiani.

UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World



Nick Meyer | AltHealthWORKS

Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.

That was the key point of a new publication from the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled“Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world.

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Food, culture, and sustainability in migrant gardens

The Earth Knows My Name, by Patricia Klindienst, is an exploration of how the making of gardens and the growing of food help ethnic and immigrant Americans maintain and transmit their cultural heritage while they put roots down in American soil. Through their work on the land, these gardeners revive cultures in danger of being lost. Through the vegetables, fruits, and flowers they produce, they share their culture with their larger communities. And in their reverent use of natural resources they keep alive a relationship to the land all but lost to mainstream culture.

Spontaneous Interventions: Design actions for common good

This was the theme for the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale (Autumn 2012). The project is an archive of a diverse range of work by designers, architects, artists and researchers engaged in dialogue with the issues of urban life. Collectively, the 124 urban interventions, represent a growing movement of people acting on problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public.

DIY, guerrilla urbanism, and action! lie at the heart of the works collected for this project.  

Spontaneous Interventions

Ethnobotanical Station

Commissioned by the New York Hall of Science for ReGeneration, artist Amy Franceschini has created a mobile fieldwork station that aims to challenge the dominance of ”modern quantitative science as compared to the long tradition of qualitative indigenous knowledge through an inventory of distinctive tools, exemplary specimen and mappings that explore new ways to relate to the plant life around us.” 

E.S. is one of the many projects undertaken by the FutureFarmers artist collective. They are “artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of “not knowing”.

Plant Species and Their Uses In Homegardens of Migrant Maya and Mestizo Smallholder Farmers In Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico

The relationship between botanical composition of home gardens and the cultural background of their owners is examined in this wonderful article. Thanks Korinna!

Conflict gardens

One of the most inspiring and important articles on why we garden, from The RHS : The Garden Magazine  

Even in the war-torn regions of Afghanistan, Palestine and Israel the gardening tradition endures, providing a peaceful distraction for many in the face of frightening adversity
Author and photography: Lalage Snow, photographer, journalist and film-maker


India by National Geographic Steve McCurry


India by National Geographic Steve McCurry