Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Urban Gardeners and Gleaners: From Squirrels to Guerillas

The squirrels have already begun to eat the pears, even though the fruit are no bigger than an inch long and hard as rocks. After last year’s bumper crop, I don’t know how many we’ll get, especially since we cut the trees back significantly last fall. But the pear bits littering the ground, as well as the apple munchings in the lane from the apple tree across the way remind me of what a bonanza cities are for urban eaters.

Le Devoir had a trio of stories about guerilla gardening and gutsy gleaning on the weekend. One story featured a young woman who spends all her time searching for food growing in the interstices of the city—“It’s my job,” she’s quoted as saying. Also featured are a woman in Toronto who is raising bees in hives of the top of the Royal York Hotel as well as pioneers trying to persuade municipal authorities to allow chickens in residential neighborhoods. Then there are the young folk who make seed bombs—a mixture of compost, seeds and earth which are propelled into vacant lots and the edges of roadway and railroads to begin gardens in waste land.

All of this is impressive stuff, but I think it pales compared to the community garden movement in Montreal. There are more than 90 of them on various plots of land around the city. Gardeners can grow some flowers, but the main thrust is food. It’s a great initiative, with waiting lists and marvelous, well-loved garden plots.

No comments: