One of my favourite things about my banner, is my attempts to capture the disconnect between 'EcoYogini', Yoga, Environment and the city. Having grown up in the sticks, surrounded by ocean, trees and woods any city seems like a big slab of concrete with stinky smog. (tugboats at the warf! Theodore was just around the corner, srsly)
eatin' icecream and being all 'I love ocean-y' while I looked at our beautiful oil refinery across the harbour...
I say this even as I adored living in Montreal and I love living in Halifax. As our population moves to the city, I strongly believe that our disconnect as a community and to our Earth is a direct result. We live in our tiny boxes, little cubes of lives and no matter how many parks or trees that live cornered into their designated 'green space' it's a much more controlled, regulated process. Nothing like Nature's chaos, wildness or Strength. We view these little flower beds and trees as being 'permitted' to be there as opposed to having that right to space.
Monsieur Homard with a terrible paint job- obviously he was attempting treeThis is the reason why I feel Urban Gardening is so essential to healing our community and how we treat our Earth. As Dr. Jay points out (in the comments!) city living actually decreases dependence on oil, gas and cars (sadly, Halifax is still a car-dependent city). What we're missing from our city centre is that connection to Earth and Nature. We still haven't found the balance.
Yes, decreasing mileage on our food, growing local and without pesticides is important and a great result of urban gardening, but it doesn't resonate with me as much as the cultural subtleties.
A nice example of my fav aspect of Halifax- the cute shingled housesGardening is a direct way to view how our efforts and the way we treat soil can have a direct effect on our health. It's a bit more disconcerting, trying to eat something we've sprayed ourselves with chemicals and how much more appealing it is to use organic methods. How wonderful it is to care and nurture our food from a tiny seedling.
How curious, a concrete empty building, like a city without Gardens...There's been a lot of thought as to how we view our public spaces and how converting more and more unused city space for urban and community gardens is the way to go. Instead of growing small plots of pesticide-rich, water gulping, not really functional grass (I mean, who really just hangs out on their front lawn anyways?) why not grow a beautiful 'potager' garden. You know, growing pretty edible things.
Many cities are fighting for more community gardens, land shares, roof top garden spaces than ever. I find it fascinating to consider how such a grassroots experience can create social ripples in how we urbanites view our surroundings. The more people realize they can urban garden, the more they will appreciate and care for the land space, spreading the word to convince others and creating a cultural shift.
After you've begun growing in the city, it feels inherently wrong to drive exhaust spewing cars past other edible gardens. Each concrete abandoned lot is seen as such a colossal waste. We start to see how plants and vegetables have a *right* to be in our concrete jungle. We start to consider them a necessary part of urban living. Which will result in different uses of taxes, of public spaces, of how we treat our public spaces.
The ultimate form of non-violent urban food protest: 'Guerrilla Gardening is a direct response to the neglect and under-use of public spaces. It is a form of nonviolent, direct action focusing on taking over abandoned public or private lands, to plant crops or other vegetation...' (Halifax Garden Network)
Who can be upset over eggplants and lettuce being grown in a space that was neglected and forlorn in the first place? For more info on Halifax Guerrilla Gardening, or to join their group go to nature_graffiti
Squint! See the purple 'yoga'? Look up- Alexander Keith's Brewery, 108Yoga Studio and current Farmer's Market Location... très MaritimesComing up... how all this results in a contingency plan for our balcony garden. Being flexible in the non-asana sense...
(ps- Photographs for Bob Weisenberg, who on twitter asked if I really was surrounded by water here in Halifax. Thought I'd take some 'tourist-y' photos for him :) ).
article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com