Insubordinate Gardens

Often, seemingly unrelated issues constellate in compelling ways. Taking hold of the public’s imagination lately were photographs of a previously un-contacted tribe in South America. Lined up with the food crisis, environmental quandaries, international politics gone awry, and so on, it's the details of these narratives that often cause us to realize the significance of the local.

In that context, the “guerrilla gardening” or “pirate farming” movement has never seemed more valuable. A recent Los Angeles Times article, "Guerrilla gardener movement takes root in L.A. area," describes the movement on the west coast as “part beautification, part eco-activism, part social outlet,” perhaps leading to “approved brigades of citizen gardeners helping cities turn wasted space into food and flowers.”

Indeed, that’s just what Greensgrow, an urban farm in the infamous Kensington section of Philadelphia, did. The New York Times article, "Where Industry Once Hummed, Urban Garden Finds Success," recently reported on the farm, explaining that Greensgrow “distinguishes itself by being a bridge between rural producers and urban consumers, and by having revitalized a derelict industrial site.” Their gardening is not “guerrilla,” but in the current atmosphere of market consolidation, GMOs, and the like, not to mention the economic climate, it certainly seems like it.

Visit Greensgrow at Guerrilla Gardening websites are plentiful. Here’s two: and And check out a past NPR piece, "Defiant Gardening," about gardening as defiance in time of war throughout history.

Photo: B&H Organics

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  1. Anonymous11:18 AM

    there needs to be one of these organizations in every city - and active in every neighborhood! they also have to go international! with the food crisis seemingly getting worse, this is one way for people to take back some control of their own well-being.

  2. the NYTimes liked our post so much, they wrote an article of their own for the latest "Magazine."


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