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Les Kishler
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 1 February 2012
“Community gardens produce nutritious food while connecting people to their community.”

Occupy Community Gardens

It’s time to prepare for spring.  The Arab Spring in the Middle East continues to move forward year round.

 Does the occupy movement stand for something positive or something negative?   It depends on the purpose and actions of those who are participating.

Is the occupy movement directionless?  Maybe.   Maybe not.   A positive direction will include a diversity of elements.  Some elements will be economic.  Some social.  Others political.   An element that is already playing a part is community gardening.

Occupying community gardens is a metaphor for the work that community gardeners perform.  Community gardens are associations of individuals who garden at a common location.   The gardeners can exchange ideas and the harvest of their work.

The occupy movement and community gardens have in common that they empower individuals to play more productive roles in their lives.    Community gardens can strengthen the occupy movement and the occupy movement can in turn strengthen community gardening.

Community gardens have an important history and can play an important role in creating a healthy society.  Community gardens produce nutritious food while connecting people to their community.  Some of the world's most respected restaurants acquire produce from community gardens.

Occupy movement locations have already included community gardens.   For example community gardens are part of the occupy movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

Spring is a metaphor for bringing new things to life.   The Arab spring is planting seeds of democracy.   Community gardens plant seeds of life.  These seeds produce food as well as plants that enhance our environment by adding interest and beauty.   In most places growing plants can be done year round.  Spring becomes an all seasons event. The time to begin is now.

One reason community gardens are important is the emotional and cognitive reward that gardening and community bring to a person's life.  Not only does the 99% benefit in this way but so does the 1%.  Community gardens are a chance for the whole 100% to benefit.

Harvard's Howard Gardener's theory of multiple intelligences includes a human's connection to the natural world.  This connection is necessary to the human condition.  Community gardening is one way to satisfy this need.

Community gardens are not demands.  They are life enhancing alternatives that help people participate in their society in a meaningful way.  Community gardens are not the only answer to developing sane and well-balanced societies.   They can be one of the answers and one of the most powerful.  Sustainable agriculture and gardening can promote sustainable economies that are good for the 1% as well as the 99%.

Community gardens may not completely replace large scale agriculture but can provide an important alternative in the economics of how humans obtain food.   There is much that agribusiness can learn from community gardens that practice the science of sustainable agriculture. This science is called agroecology.

Community gardens also exemplify economies of scale that allow greater participation by people in all walks of life. If the occupy movement in your area has already started a community garden you can participate.   If your area does not have a community garden you can start one or find someone who can.

Occupying community gardens provides a direction that allows individuals to become more productive while improving lives.   Occupying a community garden can be done for an hour a day or an hour a week.  Those who haven't started to do this do not need to wait but can start now.

Les Kishler is a Community Gardens Advocate based in California.

Transitional Home for Female Combat Vets and their kids
. The plan is to start w one abandoned mansion, redo it and start it as our first transitional home, hence Our Home. Then once that gets going, continue buying up, one by one, these foreclosed, abandoned homes and continue till we have several here in the city. Then get one or two farm land mansions that have been foreclosed/abandoned and do the same. Giving our female vets and their kids a choice of a city or country transition. We could use some gardeners! This is in the Flint, MI area.

Community gardens are

Community gardens are becoming more popular everyday for good reason. Learn more about doing it the healthy way for your community or home @

Legendary folk singer Pete

Legendary folk singer Pete Seeger sent us a note saying community gardening is one of the most important things going on in the US today.
Les Kishler

I don't know where you live

I don't know where you live but I'd suggest you go to the public library and ask them to help you figure out who owns the land, how to contact them about using it, learn everything you can about land use in that area. While you are doing that, if you want to have a community garden, I'd google community garden and find out all I could about community gardens. There are good library books about them too. One of the most delightful ones is by Paul Fleischmann and is titled SEED FOLK. It is short and makes the point that community gardens are valuable to the entire community for a variety of reasons. If you can contact a city council member or two, see if they can help you. Contact the local newspaper and ask them to follow you as you try to find out these things. You may have a real adventure! Good luck and keep us posted. Marge Wood

Community gardens are a great

Community gardens are a great idea as long as they are not owned, controlled or regulated by the Federal Government; who, has in most recent times declared themselves lord master of all foods naturally grown -with emphasis on GM derivatives through Obama’s rural development council to control all agriculture, his illegal control of all waterways and his destruction of our fishing industry. –Wake up America

This is the AMERICAN WAY...

This is the AMERICAN WAY... compassion unity innovation optimistic vision in times of struggle and discord for our faimly friends and communities

The homes of the politicians

The homes of the politicians working for the 1% and shafting the rest are a good place to start. Occupy the front of their luxurious homes. The streets and sidewalks belong to the people.

How exactly does one lay

How exactly does one lay claim to a space? There is an empty public school in my area that was closed down last year. It is chained up, state-owned and no known plans. Is there a process to follow to get permission to use the space? When you say 'occupy' do you mean to just go in there are start gardening without permission? I'm concerned about it being destroyed or trespass charges....

Community gardens are one of

Community gardens are one of the most important things going on in the US today.

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