Guerilla Gardening

To grow food is such a positive way of attacking the system, and taking action in our own lives produces all kinds of benefits. It provides us with the healthiest and tastiest food, connects us with our ancestors, and helps us to realise the real connection we can have with the land, which we are so cut off from in the modern world.

By growing food we are making a statement to the system, that we do not want to be a part of the unsustainable, toxic mess that is capitalist, exploitative food production.  We are taking action to participate less in this system, we are moving forward.

But what to do when there is no space at home? Do we try to find a nearby community garden, where we theoretically should be welcomed, or do we take action with our own hands and minds to create something that truly belongs to the community?

The mainstream idea of community gardens, it seems, is not a garden belonging to the community at all, it’s something set up with government funding. We believe this completely disempowers those that are a part of the community, leaving them at the mercy of the government to decide what they can and can’t do. To add to this, the
community gardens seem to be made exclusively for those living in housing department tower blocks. While these people need to be connected with the soil as much as anyone else does, We also believe they need the empowerment that comes from being involved in the decision making.

Instead of engaging and empowering the community, the actions are taken out of pity, by well meaning but misguided folk. Rather than engaging the community in the decision making, decisions are made for them and each interested party given their own little bit of space, individualism is encouraged in what is supposed to build community!

Whilst the action of creating these community gardens is not negative in itself, a quick examination of what is really going on reveals that it does not have the community building impact that it could have, were a group of people to join together to create something without the inclusion of government funding or reliance on anyone but

Not long ago, some Victorian National Anarchists took back a little unused space in the name of sustainability and community empowerment, this was a strong action against capitalism. This garden was created on a block of land in the inner city that had sold several months ago. It was covered in weeds and left untouched by the owner. We found this to be a very appropriate place to make a statement against capitalism.

Before we started

We thought it was best to start small on this project, and bought the materials needed for one sheet mulch/no-dig bed. These were:
1 bale pea straw
4 big bags of compost
1 bag organic potting mix
a small amount of worm poo for added nutrients.
We will later sprinkle some dolomite lime on this, to add to the calcium and magnesium content of the growing mixture.  We will also be feeding the plants with diluted seaweed liquid, and extra worm poo as they continue to grow.

This was enough to create a garden bed of approximately 1.5 metres by 3 metres.  The process of doing this involved putting a layer of wet newspaper on the ground to stop weeds from growing, adding to the water and labour efficiency of this garden.  Next we spread two bags of compost on the newspaper, then about half a bale of pea straw on
top of that, to add to the drainage, and to provide nitrogen and humus as it decomposes. On top of that was another two bags of compost, one bag of potting mix, and a good sprinkling of worm poo.

In to this we planted:
1 tommy toe tomato seedling (delicious heritage variety of tomato that
isn’t commercially grown)
6 red capsicum seedlings
1 mild chili seedling
1 sweet potato
three spaghetti squash seeds, to be thinned to one plant once established.
While this isn’t the most sustainable way of growing, we hope to eventually make a compost heap, using commercial waste such as cardboard and coffee grounds that would otherwise go to landfill. Hay can also be grown on site, in time, as can green manure plants, to bring fertility and humus to the soil.

This no dig method of growing requires minimal time, uses minimal water, and means that we can use potentially contaminated land.  It is an ideal system for this revolutionary reclaiming of land.