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On the Media and Community Gardens

  • Subject: [cg] On the Media and Community Gardens
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2005 22:47:44 EST

Like many Americans, you mention the world, "film, TV, documentary, media," 
everyone decides that it's wonderful to let the folks in so we can all get our 
Andy Warhol, " ten minutes of fame."  If you get story control, and can shape 
the story, and get the right to do so, up front, it works, but if they're 
making the money, and you don't get a film credit, copy of the documentary to show 
your own funders and no up-front agreement to include a credit or 
acknowledgment of the volunteer organizations they're filming, then you get screwed. 

I don't like to see community gardeners get screwed, or have their time 

All of this has really happened in gardens I've been involved with over the 

It ain't nice when the "nice," film crew wants to...

1) Shoot a TV commercial using your garden as the back drop for a chemical 
fertilizer that you wouldn't use, and didn't tell you about it because they  
"thought it was OK, it's a garden isn't it?" 

2) Have decided to use your garden for an alfresco sex flick and "forget" to 
tell you at the last moment. And want you to open up your garden at night t

3) Feel they have the right to trash your garden with heavy cables and weight 
bearing tripods. "It will grow back, won't it?" 

4) Shoot their film and never send you a complimentary video copy for your 

5) Send in an arrogant NYC Film School crew that lights up dope ( against 
your garden rules) because they "need to get loose," and feel they can pee on 
your roses because "it won't hurt anything." 

6) Schedule a shoot during the work week, for which community gardeners take 
off of work to show up for, and the production company says, about a week 
later, if ever, that "the client decided to shoot somewhere else - thanks for 
being there, but we couldn't help it." 

And in all honesty, if I ever see a Japanese film crew wanting to shoot in a 
NYC community garden who promises to send a copy of the finished video to the 
filmed garden and doesn't leave jack except a few pieces of origami, a 
business card and trampled on flowers - it will be too soon. 

 As they say, you can't make this manure up. 

Now gardens that I've been involved with have had lots of garden 
documentaries, PBS filming, and I and other gardeners  given countless press interviews 
and tours to greening folks - and it can be very positive.

" PBS Wild Kingdom" was really classy, as was "A Lot in Common,".  "Grace 
from the Garden," was a really good book, with a contract from Rodale, and a 
number of scholarly and non-scholarly documentarians have been both sincere, and 
respectful of gardeners and gardeners's time.

But there are lots of hustlers out there who waste volunteer community 
gardeners's time. And you disappoint your volunteers a few times, and you end up 
with fewer volunteers. 

So I think  good think to do, I think, is to ask professional documentarians 
who ain't community gardeners  up front to join the American Community 
Gardening Association for the lousy $25 it will cost them,  and at the very least let 
us know who the heck they are. 

I mean, it is the right thing to do. Media is a business, and like any 
business they should be asked to ante up and identify themselves for any other 
segment  of our society that they respected, at all. 

And between you and me, $25 - the price of a few pizzas and beers on a 
volunteer day isn't too much to ask of any business person or any garden that wants 
to use the priceless resources of the American Community Gardening 

Adam Honigman 

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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