They've got pots, plants and a car load of pointed trowels ... no unattended plot of squalid land is safe ... it's the GUERRILLA GARDENERS!

"(Richard) Reynolds defines guerrilla gardening as “the cultivation of someone else’s land without permission.” He didn’t invent the term or the tactic but has become, as he puts it, “a self-appointed publicist for the movement” and the breadth of impulses and ideologies behind it.
Last week he published a book, “On Guerrilla Gardening.” It’s a political history of people growing things where they shouldn’t — from Honduran squatters to the artists and students he credits with originating the term “guerrilla gardening” in New York City in the early ’70s. During the city’s financial crisis, the self-styled Green Guerillas began cultivating derelict lots around the Lower East Side, either by clipping barbed wire fences or chucking “seed bombs” over them — Christmas ornaments or condoms filled with tomato seeds, water and fertilizer. After early confrontations, the city ultimately gave in and legitimized many of their plots into one of the country’s first community-garden programs, staking a claim for green space before gentrification vaulted the value of all that abandoned land."

An interesting idea to be sure, and anyone who's lived in a city can attest to the aesthetic charm a civic-minded greenthumb can bring to problem spots in town that understaffed DPW departments simply just can't get to.

Still, I'm not surprised the London police are having some run-ins with this guy. Mooallem puts it nicely:

"He is fundamentally an aesthete. And at first glance, there’s a confounding innocence to it all. Yet Reynolds has managed to stir controversy and, very recently, found himself surrounded by the police. He is quickly becoming both a subculture celebrity (Adidas sent him a treatment for a guerrilla-gardening-themed ad campaign) and a public intellectual, challenging ideas about what it means to live in a city — simply by decorating one."

"'There’s this feeling that someone’s going to be doing it for us,' he told me. We respect public space by not degrading it: not littering, not vandalizing. But we rarely consider what we might contribute to it. Consequently, the common areas of our cities wind up belonging to none of us rather than to all of us equally. As Andy Brown, a guerrilla gardener in Toronto, puts it: 'If it makes sense to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls of your living room, it makes sense to put a fresh coat of flowers on your neighborhood, because they’re both places you live in.'"

Check out the full New York Times article here.

No comments:

Post a Comment