Greenwash #20 in Trouble - Post Carbon Food Systems (authorised and unauthorised)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I concentrated this month's Greenwash article on one specific chapter found in the very brilliant Post Carbon Reader anthology. The chapter is called Growing Community Food Systems and is written by US artist-farmer Erika Allen. Click on the image below, then click again to read in high definition.

You can buy a copy from HRN, or read free chapters online.

In news closer to home, last weekend a group of about 40 locals were involved in taking over a disused council plot and did what we've been asking permission for over many years – develop a community garden. Whereas I see some relevance in working with local government to plan against ecological and energetic crises, I don't believe we should wait around for any level of government to drive behaviour change.

When the current CEO at our local council took up her position I made a time to meet with her and raise my chief concerns in the shire – public transport, privatised bottled water and community food gardens. She agreed with me on public transport (and to give credit, there has been a little work done in this area, although she herself drives solo transit from St Kilda to Daylesford for work everyday); and she was interested in the bottled water argument (although nothing more has been done to curb this polluting, exploitative industry very specific to our shire - read more here); however she totally dismissed the community garden issue with the rationale that people in this region have enough space in their own backyards to grow whatever food they wish. This meeting was three years ago.

But to be realistic, change generally comes from a 'hacker' (in the broadest, McKenzie Wark, sense) or activist class, who aim to inspire a wider, bottom-up, grassroots movement to take direct action. By contrast, the bureaucratic class renders itself static through its own red tape. Politicians play between the bureaucracy and the hackers.

In our case this latest action is involved with developing another chapter in our local community food system. The shire council can either get behind us, ignore it and hope it goes away, or become adversarial. We'll see. Here's the wee video I made to document the first stage of this unauthorised community food project.

This garden (beside the Daylesford Public Library) acts as a continuation of a range of community food systems that have been developing in the area for many years. Such systems include a permaculture garden next door (behind the library) and my own public artwork comprising of 19 fuji apples (in front of the library), which were both planted in 1999 and are well used and tended by the community and wild bird population alike.


Newspaper by 2008

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