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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.