Let’s plant some seeds :// GARDENING FOR CHANGE
(full text coming soon)
Duncan’s Green Ring
Some of Transition’s projects have ambitions on a city-wide level and I met Duncan Crowley, architecture graduate/eco-researcher/Transition member to talk about them. I found him in Plaza Catalunya wearing a “Revolt Now” t-shirt in between a video conference with the protesters in Greece and his first proper nights sleep in a week. His objectives within Barcelona’s Transition group are based on city planning for green space and he has a history of success with his proposition for an 18km ecological “green” route through Dublin. He brings with him acronyms (CPUL – Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes), logic and the energy to make things happen as well as the occasional lapse into leprechaun moments with catchphrases like “gardens allow magic to grow”.
Through participative “open-space” meetings a green corridor has been identified in Barcelona. Starting at Arc de Triomf and finishing in Sant Martí you can follow a specific route and pass by vegetable gardens planted in disused plots of land, (Hort de Fort Pienc) pedestrian walkways and parks. The idea is that, starting with community action and guerilla gardening, more and more food is planted at key spaces along the route (called connectors) and our city becomes greener – literally. The long-term plan is to integrate it into the council’s vision of these neighbourhoods, and in the end to create an entire circuit around the city which you can walk or cycle. The council already knows that there is a serious lack of green space, particularly in the Eixample, and if the new treeless, concrete filled, yellow tarmaced “park” in my block is anything to go by they don’t seem to be solving it by opening up the interior spaces in the style of Cerdá’s original plan. Hopefully by combining Transition’s efforts with the bureaucratic weight of “Agenda 21” (an ayuntamiento sustainability action plan) different groups can pull in the same direction on this one. For now, if you want to help out, find the green corridor. Walk it, enjoy it, and see if you can’t plant a little something along the way.
Another important step they’re taking to enable groups of neighbours grow their own food (where does the myth that only retired people want to garden come from?) is working with government to give people the legal right to make temporary gardens on disused sites.
On a practical level these local production zones could lead to local markets and most importantly a resiliance to outside influences. My friend Claudia asks without fail at any public meeting she can get to: “Does Barcelona have a food sovereignity program? What would happen if a petrol crisis caused MercaBarna to shut down?” Answer = the supermarkets would run out of food in approximately three days.