Guerrilla gardening [ the illicit cultivation of someone else’s land].
We see a direct link between community action gardening, and groups in the global south fighting for, and reclaiming their land such as the Zapatistas, and other indigenous peoples struggles for land. Although we do recognize the differences in the risks and consequences facing these people, and the history involved in such struggles. The fact that their fight is often about feeding starving stomachs, and reclaiming what was once theirs. While Guerrilla gardening is more often a political statement, or a questioning of ownership. Either way it’s about taking land which is not “Yours”, and cultivating it for your own needs.
The unequal “distribution of land”, and mono-culture farming are aimed at profiting the rich, and both come with a heavy price. As people have are being pushed off their land, being told that it now belongs to a large farming corporation, or the state. People are forced into poverty, and their basic right to grow their own food is being stolen from them.
Mono-culture leads to the exhaustion of soil, and is a key player in climate change. The transformation of the farm into a factory makes agriculture the number one polluter, higher than transportation, and construction. Mass industry is not just, and by it’s very definition not sustainable.
The concept of taking land, is probably as old as old as ownership of land. Throughout his-story there are many examples of people who (re)claimed land as part of their revolutionary struggle. Such as the 17Th century Diggers in England, whose struggle for land was the spark that lit the bonfire for the English revolution, and at the turn of the 20Th cent century the infamous Zapata, who’s battle cry “tierra y libirtad” (land and freedom) was the motto for the Mexican revolution of 1910, and still used today by the Zapatistas of Chapas.
However the phrase guerrilla gardening was not coined until 1973. when Liz Cristy started the “green guerrilla group” in New York city. It started off small, with a few plants scattered here and there around her neighborhood, but that changed when she occupied an empty lot with a group of neighbors, and transformed it into a community garden, which is still there today.
Guerrilla gardening can take allot of different forms. From a few potted plants on the footpath, or taking up concrete and laying soil and plants, to occupying empty lots to make a whole garden!
Richard Reynolds wrote a book about guerrilla gardening, and started a network on guerrillagardening.org. Along with his battle against urbanization and concrete he has been making links with Guerrilla gardeners all over the world in an attempt to strengthen and build the movement. He goes further to say that the unequal “distribution” of land and resources lies at the root of poverty, hunger and war. He sees guerrilla gardening as a means of fighting this, and extends solidarity to the campesinos of Latin America, to the peasant farmers in Japan, and the women farmers groups in India. To people all over the world who are fighting for their dignity and right to grow their food.
We also declare our solidarity with small farmers around the world, and all who are fighting the powers of “big capital”. we would also like to encourage people to start growing more of their own food where ever possible, and ask you to make it possible where it isn’t. We encourage people to eat local and seasonal food for the sake of the environment, your local small farmers, and yourself.