Beyond Community Gardening

[Punch Sound] [Punch Sound] Andrew: -that might be me in the shot Rashelle: Let’s see it. Andrew: It’s recording right now. Good? Rashelle: Yeah, you’re good! Andrew: Perfeeeect! Hashtag WideAngleLens! What Whaaaaat! Rashelle: I’m just gunna adjuuuuust- ok. Andrew: I just like felt this huge sense of failure [Moving Cello Music Begins] Ummmmm, because I haven’t communicated what this space is and I like, I feel like a lot of people in DuPage, like, we kind of all sense it, I think. Subliminally, under the surface Maybe we don’t wanna talk about it ’cause it’s kinda ugly? But like, people in DuPage County like don’t know what’s up. They really don’t. Ummmm, and so I went to a school. I’m privileged to be able to say that I went to a school in northern Wisconsin where it was 500 students it was an Environmental Liberal Arts college, my major is in Sustainable Community Development with a focus on Native American Studies and Sustainable Agriculture, so I have this lens, I’ve been *gifted* this lens I feel like Moses ’cause I’ve like seeeeeen the promised land I’ve seen what *can be* and now I’ve come back to DuPage and talking to people, like they’re just like cross-eyed when you talk to them about this stuff. You’re like, “oh yeah- like, communally-owned land.” People’re like [shocked face] “That’s not a thing.” “What are you- what are you talking about, you can’t do that here.” [Crowd laughs] Andrew: And so like, the fact that the Theosophical Society has gifted us this space and allowed for us to be able to create a sacred space of communal land ownership as a demonstration to our own community not only of OUR power, and OUR might, and OUR ability to work together as a team, and OUR ability to have representative democracy on a local- a HYPER local level but also just to demonstrate OUTWARDLY to the community that we can have a communal space. Ummmm, and it can work, and it can be beautiful and it can produce a ton of food, and it can be a blessing to the community and to ourselves. So, that’s why I wrote this poem. The Sustain DuPage Victory Garden Is NOT a community garden. That name has been colonized. The hegemonic understanding of that name is that it is a garden of fractured properties. The Sustain DuPage Victory Garden is NOT a community garden because a community garden that is plotted and divided is an oxymoron. We refuse to be plotted and divided. We are an intentional garden of social claim. Each leaf is not belonged to anyone. We belong to the garden. Our nutritional obligation is thanks to these hands, and this soil, a gifted space. Our gifts, Her gifts, their gifts, shared interchangeably. Indivisible. Bounty and abundance delineated to and from All. Failure, in partnership- shared. Success, in partnership- shared. Hearts shared. Minds shared. Usufruct. Ejido. Giardino povera. Nießbrauch επικαρπία Land held in common. Provided and received internally. Enjoyed. Laughed over. Cried into. Blessed space. Gratefulness embodied in culture. Victory over fear. Victory over a scarcity mindset. Proof of abundance. Rooted to DuPage. Sustained by Mother Earth. Joy, in connection. That’s the poem. [Cheering/Applause]

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