Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Possible Sites

While Meg and Zephyr have been tending the Artist as Family's home garden, Patrick has been in Sydney looking at possible sites to plant the Food Forest. At one point today he was captivated by how wild nature goes about reclaiming urban environments to build habitat.

The following act of self-seeded brilliance is occurring at about 40cm above street level. The spider is a trusty companion, ready to gobble unwanted pests. Competition is often heralded as the main gig in evolution, but co-dependancy and cooperation are as much a part of evolutionary life. Working together and sharing resources and environments is key to interspecies survival.

Later in the day, Patrick and MCA curator Anna Davis arrived at CarriageWorks where they met with the executive producer Jamie Dawson who showed them a couple of possible sites. CarriageWorks is such a beautifully loaded locality that brings with it an enthusiastic community that is showing much support for our project. However, it's a difficult site in terms of planting a forest outdoors, and the awesome space indoors, with great overhead light wells and rain collection opportunities, would sadly restrict the movement of helpful pollinators and predators – lizards, bees, spiders and frogs – into the forest. Jamie and his team would be great to work with, so we're remaining very open.

Next stop: St Michael's church in Surry Hills.

A community member, Heide, living near to the church, contacted the MCA when she heard our project was looking for a home, and mentioned St Michael's as a possible site. Dotted around the world church grounds are currently being transformed into community gardens, which makes good sense as there are often soup kitchens being run from them, and fresh organic produce goes hand in hand with such great initiatives. Also, old churches such as St Michael's generally have 'clean' soil from which heavy metals are absent. Not that a combination of the right plants, compost, biomass, fungi and microbial life couldn't detoxify the soil organically.

We are working with the MCA on a proposal tonight, which will be taken to the church Warden meeting tomorrow night.

There's one or two other things worth noting here before we sign off. Here's a link to William Blake's The Garden of Love, which has been a precursory text for our Food Forest and for Patrick's presentation this coming Friday as part of Open Fields at UTS. Blake's poem is a kind of elegy for a lost erotic Eden; a lament about that which became divided. Rev Frances at St Michael's mentioned Eden too when we briefly met with him today. David Graeber (2007, p23), in a much broader context, bares this fruit on the subject:
Sexual relations, after all, need not be represented as a matter of one partner consuming the other; they can also be imagined as two people sharing food.
If you're in the area on Friday, come by and say g'day to Patrick at UTS. We'd love to hear your tips on what specifically keeps your garden or local environment full of wild love and reciprocity.


  1. I love the idea of a food forest in a church! Such beautiful imagary around cycles and renewal - hope there is a graveyard on site!

  2. i agree - a loaded cultural site, but alas no graveyard.

    cheers umatji


  3. Surely a compost bin counts as a graveyard??