Kitchen Garden Guides

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gangster Gardening

Humbled by this real life story I feel I am spinning my wheels and not going anywhere, while in the food desert of south LA, this man is making it happen. What I so much want to do is unite people in a desire to bring food gardens to the streets and so to the gardens, homes and kitchens of Cygnet. The whole point is to make people healthy and responsible for themselves because in doing that, the whole planet will benefit. And, when it comes down to it, that is what I care about most.


Sure, I have a cute little patch of ground at the Cygnet Library that is a fabulous start and which I am unashamedly proud of. Everything to do with the effect that this patch has on our community is positive and, at times, quite remarkable. Linking food growing to the library connects people on neutral territory; with no age, sex, political or social barriers. Accidentally we have found a brilliant way of influencing everyone who reads as the library system of Tasmania is a model that should be adopted everywhere.

This man, however, is influencing those most in need of change and often these are the people who don’t or can’t read. These are people who don’t have a garden, don’t know about chia seeds, fish oil, organic carrots or detoxifying your liver. While I am doing superficial stuff in a rustic, gourmet little town he is turning gangsters into gardeners and giving people their health so they can make choices and move away from the fast food nightmare.

In a few weeks I am taking a tentative step into the equivalent of his world, here in Cygnet, when a group of mostly women, who have lived here all their lives, some of aboriginal decent but all suffering many health issues, come to my garden. Some probably can’t read. Over a couple of hours we will look, touch, smell and pick a few things then go in to my kitchen and make some soup which we will eat with some home made bread. I have no concept of how this will pan out but I hope that, in some small way, it sows a seed in someone’s mind. And I sure hope that I feel inspired to continue on trying to connect people and their food, through gardening.