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Re: community_garden digest, Vol 1 #2474 - 1 msg

  • Subject: [cg] Re: community_garden digest, Vol 1 #2474 - 1 msg
  • From: kia7112@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2006 14:58:40 -0400

PLease take me off your mailing list i can not open your mail................... 
 
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Sent: Sat, 1 Jul 2006 12:00:05 -0500
Subject: community_garden digest, Vol 1 #2474 - 1 msg


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Today's Topics:


  1. Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime (adam36055@aol.com)

Message: 1
Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2006 12:41:23 -0400
From: adam36055@aol.com
Message-Id: <8C86B445282A4D4-7D4-8996@mblk-r22.sysops.aol.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
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To: community_garden@mallorn.com, cybergardens@treebranch.com,
  urban.parks@topica.com, NYC-GardensCoalition@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [cg] Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime

'Defiant Gardens' brought comfort in war 

By Heather Lee Schroeder
Special to The Capital Times
July 1, 2006
In the 1950s, Abraham Maslow said humans care about their aesthetic or 
intellectual needs only after all their other basic needs -- food, shelter, 
security and social approval -- are met. 
Researchers have since challenged this theory, suggesting that human needs are 
far more complex than Maslow realized. Author Kenneth Helphand's new book 
"Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime" offers ample evidence that this is 
almost certainly true.
This lovely book offers an overview of gardens created under the most adverse 
conditions during the turbulent 20th century. From soldiers who raised 
vegetables in the trenches of World War I to Jews who built kitchen gardens in 
the ghettos of Warsaw to the Community Gardening Association of Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, Helphand (pronounced Helfand) explores how gardening, even in the 
worst situations, provides solace for the human soul, as well as sustenance for 
the human body.
In a recent telephone interview, Helphand, who is a professor of landscape 
architecture at the University of Oregon in Eugene, reflected on the process of 
writing "Defiant Gardens."
"Over and over people in these horrible circumstances would describe the beauty 
of some small aspect of this and how it was more important than food," he said. 
"To me that inverts the idea that gardens are superficial or only necessary 
after you've done everything else.
"For anyone who is a designer or an artist, you essentially believe in your gut 
that art matters," he added. "It doesn't mean it's the most important thing, but 
it matters."
The idea for "Defiant Gardens" started with a photo Helphand found of World War 
I soldiers working in their garden. As he describes it, the image festered under 
his skin, but it ultimately took 15 years for the book to come to fruition.
Helphand said the process of creating this book has deepened his understanding 
of gardens and landscape. In particular, he has an appreciation for the active 
relationship humans maintain with the environment when they garden.
What he finds significant is that many of the people who created these defiant 
gardens did so knowing there was a strong chance they wouldn't be there to see 
the fruits of their labors. "It was a paradox," Helphand said. "People were 
still trying to be hopeful even when they knew there was no hope."
At its core, "Defiant Gardens" reads like a deeply political treatise. That's 
probably not so surprising since Helphand's undergraduate degree was in 
political science, but the author is quick to point out that he's not offering 
up an anti-war message. Rather, he believes it's impossible to discuss war and 
not think about the politics underlying all of them.
"If you think of war and gardening as a kind of war and peace, then gardening is 
a state of peace," he said. "The garden in the time of war is trying to bring 
back a state that is not violent and where people are not being killed."
Helphand believes gardens can offer people healing in times of great trauma, but 
he also understands that they don't always reach every person. For some, it is 
music or visual art that sustains them through traumatic times. His point is 
that the human need for the beautiful transcends time and place.
Ultimately, Helphand has concluded that life, home, hope, work and beauty are 
all equally important to the human spirit. The proportions of those ingredients 
change from situation to situation, but they underlie all basic human needs.
"I can honestly say that I started with hope," Helphand said of the process of 
writing the book.
"I knew that already. Lots of people have written about that. It was the others 
that I came away with. I was amazed at people's ability to try to make a home 
when thrust into horrible situations, but the one that surprised me the most was 
how much the work meant to people."
Gardening is fundamentally creative and ultimately satisfying to the human 
spirit, he concluded. And of course, there is the power of the beautiful which 
seems to have the power to sustain human beings.
"It doesn't matter how big something is or how long it is in duration. A single 
plant can be as meaningful as an acre," he said.
As for future projects, Helphand says there are books waiting to be written 
about gardening in Soviet gulags and South African prisons, but he hopes to 
focus on an exploration of the English painter Derek Jarman's gardens.
"My hope is that other scholars and students will read 'Defiant Gardens' and do 
more because there's a lot more out there," he said.
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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


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