29th Nov 2012: Greening Up Your City by Kate Gilliam
Name of speaker and subject:
Kate Gilliam – Guerilla Gardening
Title of talk:
Greening Up Your City
Bullet points of what you would like to cover:
- reclaiming public space
- creating your own allotment!
- growing vegetables in small spaces
- community building, community greening
- civic action
Suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where further information may be found:
A few words about you and your passion:
Guerilla gardening can transform a neighborhood. I support the reclaiming of public space by planting or seed bombing, largely because it demonstrates to the general public that they too have the ability, nay the right, to instigate change in the city they live in. Too often we are confined to our little apartments or offices and don’t interact with the streets and space around us. Have a look around you on your way to work or during your day, and if there is a bare stretch of land that is being unused, plant an armful of daffodil or tulip bulbs in it. There is no harm in making something bloom. Community gardens serve really important functions in a neighborhood.
The garden provides a meeting space for residents and community members, as well as a learning center for kids. We have always grown vegetables that are given back to the community, and encouraged people to enjoy the gardens on their own time. Community gardens and green space provide many of the same benefits as parks do, but they more focused on building relationships and encouraging participation.
I met a woman called Julia from Berlin who interviewed me for her dissertation on guerilla gardening, and she ran the most amazing community garden called Rosa Rose in Berlin. Unfortunately the city reclaimed the garden and bulldozed it to make room for development. I can only imagine how traumatic that must have been for the community, as Rosa Rose was a real center for the neighborhood. Cities need to recognize the important work that community gardeners are doing, and allocate more space and support for these gardens.
A few lines about the history of your subject:
Trees Not Trash is a neighborhood beautification project based in Brooklyn, NY a once largely industrial area that is becoming increasingly residential. Formed in 2005, our mission is to transform neighborhoods into communities with green space, where people can take pride in their streets. Trees clean the air, provide shade for people and animals, and create a sense of well-being.
Since its inception, Trees Not Trash has had over 2500 street trees planted in NYC and transformed 4 neglected areas into community gardens and public green spaces. Trees Not Trash has since expanded to Edinburgh, Scotland, and we have started our first community green space along the Union Canal. Check out www.treesnottrash.org for more information, and how to get involved!