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The Cursed Earth Garden

category dublin | environment | feature author Tuesday May 09, 2006 00:56author by Cursed Earth Gardener Report this post to the editors

Cursed Earth Garden

In February this year, a new community garden has opened in Phibsborough, on the banks of the Royal Canal. It started off with some trees and a herb garden, and is establishing itself as an alternative means of urban food production. This article is a reflection by one of the community gardeners on the reasons for the project.

Excerpt:

We have lost the ability to provide for our needs from our local areas, and this coupled with an avaricious consumerism means we import more and more goods, both necessary and unnecessary, increasing the destruction worldwide.

The only sensible way of life is a sustainable one, everything else is by definition, doomed to failure sooner or later. Our lifestyle is so far removed from an idea of sustainability that it has become an absurdity. Itís nigh on impossible to find Irish apples in Tesco in September

Full text:
Iíve been involved in the Phibsborough Community Garden (AKA The Cursed Earth Garden) since its inception. I wanted to get involved mainly as an opportunity to learn about growing my own food. Iím shamefully ignorant about small scale food production. Like everything else in our modern world, it is designated to specialists to increase efficiency. We spend 13 years in school being indoctrinated (longer if youíre particularly slow) and trained to be cogs in the machine of industrial civilization, but unable to fend for ourselves in any basic way. Teaching myself how to grow some food is another small step towards self-empowerment and away from being totally dependent on the machinery of a globalized economy. I find it much easier to get involved in a project that concentrates on building a positive aspect of our ideals rather than trying to destroy a negative aspect of the dominant culture. Maybe itís just my cynicism that sees oppositional activities as frequently being akin to shouting at brick walls. Sometimes itís just easier to walk around the walls than try to knock them down. A tree about to be planted

The land itself is squatted. It appears to be a long disused part of the railway. Weíre not asking permission from a higher authority, weíre taking it because we believe in the merits of our actions and the futility of requesting somebody else to improve our lives. Itís all about doing things ourselves, learning, making mistakes, making friends and trying to improve our local area in some small way.

Our city is being held hostage by speculators who crowd our neighbourhoods with over-priced and shoddily built apartment blocks, with no investment in local facilities, green spaces, playgrounds, community centres, etc. The garden will probably be built over with one of these at some time in the not-too-distant future. If nothing else it might serve as a symbol of our societyís principles when it gets bulldozed to make way for yet more gated apartment blocks.

Our environment in this country has been ravaged by the effects of thousands of years of civilization. We have killed all the native forests that used to blanket the island and turned the countryside into a chemically-green wasteland. We have lost the ability to provide for our needs from our local areas, and this coupled with an avaricious consumerism means we import more and more goods, both necessary and unnecessary, increasing the destruction worldwide.

The only sensible way of life is a sustainable one, everything else is by definition, doomed to failure sooner or later. Our lifestyle is so far removed from an idea of sustainability that it has become an absurdity. Itís nigh on impossible to find Irish apples in Tesco in September.

I donít know if I particularly want the garden to become Ďorganizedí. Currently it exists as a loose collection of friends and associates. Iíd like to see it grow and change organically, with people coming and working on it at their own leisure, for the sake of it, for the enjoyment of walking away from the traffic and digging hands in dirt. Itís self-empowering. Itís practical. In economic terms it means I can grow a few vegetables, save a bit of money, work a little less and have more time to spend doing what I want to do with my time. In human terms I learn a little about how to look after myself, spend time with good friends doing something healthy and life-affirming, make new friends and get to see a piece of land damaged by industrialism get a new lease of life. Map to the garden

Indymedia links on this subject:

This was originally a comment on this article: report on Phibsborough garden

Closure of Dolphin's Barn Garden

Opening of new Finglas community garden

author by Shipseapublication date Tue May 09, 2006 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What a great idea. Struck by your point that most of us haven't the foggiest idea about how to look after our basic needs: growing food, understanding our health, putting a roof over our heads etc. Prompted me to look around the web to see what was happening and found this really good website:

http://www.selfsufficientish.com/

loads of ideas about how to do various things for yourself.

For a different take on the idea, there's this one too which includes advice on how to survive an earthquake and other catastrophes, if you are worried about those possibilities:-)

http://www.greatdreams.com/survival.htm

Here's one about taking care of your own health through the food you grow - the sort of stuff that has the pharmas/gmo/industrial food producers going mad. They are feeling hugely threatened by the growing awareness that people can medicate themselves effectively and cheaply by studying the science of eating for health and the realisation that almost all illness comes down to poor/unbalanced diet. There are concerted attacks being made food supplements e.g. the recent report that Omega 3 oil is of no consequence to a healthy heart. This is completely untrue.

http://www.soilandhealth.org/

author by Nina Munitoz - Gleaners Coalitionpublication date Tue May 09, 2006 21:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

School children are establishing organic gardens and are contributing the food to the poor. Volunteers are needed.
http://pr.indymedia.org/news/2006/05/15947.php

How to establish organic school gardens
http://beirut.indymedia.org/ar/2006/01/3660.shtml

eco recycling ~ saving energy and water Intelligently
http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2006/04/49977.php

solar energy for teachers and students
http://www.chapelhill.indymedia.org/news/2006/05/20668.php

volunteering to work on organic farms
http://www.wwoof.org

author by Caobhinpublication date Wed May 10, 2006 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See below for welcome reemergence of the "spontis" in Germany.

There's a Tesco just down the way in Phibsboro as well, hmmmmm....

Related Link: http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article362870.ece
author by Lara Hillpublication date Wed May 10, 2006 15:03author address author phone 0861717726Report this post to the editors

Thanks for that article, 'Cursed Earth Gardener'. Well written and good points about self-sufficiency and self-empowerment. I know what you mean about not being able to get Irish produce in supermarkets. It's infuriating. The apples in Lidl are from bloody China! I can't take supermarkets anymore: the packaging, far-flung countries of origin and the price of organic, triple-wrapped produce take the edge right off my appetite.

One point about having destroyed all our native forests - thankfully not quite all: I and a few other community/squat gardeners got a chance to meet up at CELT in Bealkelly Woods, Mayo at the weekend. It's 86 acres of native forest. The website would cheer any eco warrior: celtnet.org.

Look forward to more reports from Phibsborough.

author by phibsborough gardenerpublication date Wed May 10, 2006 19:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If anyone is interested in getting involved at all you need to go up and look at the garden, visualize what you want there and start doing it. There is a very small number of people doing stuff there and anyone extra would be a welcomoe addition. It's a really nice space, and could have stuff like playgrounds, picnic tables, bonfires, sculptures... use yor imagination. The space is there if you have the energy to put into it

author by chris - the unmanageablespublication date Thu May 11, 2006 11:39author email dotliath at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Everywhere that Maud Gonne had a home, be it in France or Ireland., She established a vegetable garden and used the produce to feed not only her family but the families of the starving, either as a result of the wars or harsh poverty caused by greed. it was a matter of principle and pride to that unmanageable lady to provide for the table with the work of her own hands. This is a brilliant article,
revolutionary thought is grounded in pragmatism. She had multiple uses for her petticoats also!

A lot of arable land in Ireland is left uncultivated. I see this everytime I travel. Small orchards and veg gardens used be a common sight.

author by dunkpublication date Thu Feb 01, 2007 20:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

if interested see the DB website and contact them
http://dolphinsbarngarden.org/

or else see following link for details

http://easa.antville.org/stories/960542/#1563073

Sallys bridge

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