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Re: what's appropriate for this list?

  • Subject: Re: [cg] what's appropriate for this list?
  • From: Dboek@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 23:48:38 EDT

As a person on the edges of ACGA who has benefited greatly from the group and 
this list, I'd like to agree with Jack. While I agree that this list should't 
be a clearing house for horticultural information, I feel even more strongly 
that asking the moderator to intercept and reject ('refer', if you like) 
horticultural questions is not a good idea.

In a sense, perhaps, the most important question for us as a community is how 
to handle this kind of issue, based on consensus and seeking middle ground. 
Good practice for us all.

From my perspective, I don't see this list terribly cluttered with 
horticulture questions. Is it really that big a problem?

As I've said many times here (and elsewhere I'm afraid), love of growing 
things is one of the most important elements motivating rank and file 
gardeners, as well as more than a few garden organizers. Horticultural 
questions offer a wonderful starting point for encouraging people to get 
involved in community gardens, as a first step toward other community 
building activities. In addition, educating ourselves and our communities 
about sound and sustainable gardening and soil stewardship, and engaging in 
thoughtful dialog on these issues, are among the most important things we can 
do as community gardeners.

No, we are not Cooperative Extension, nor should we be. Our friends at Coop 
Extension are pretty chemically dependent in my state and elsewhere. If we 
simply direct people to visit 'garden info' sites, we lose the opportunity to 
encourage people to critically examine the way our culture exploits not only 
people but the living systems that sustain us all.

Again, speaking a bit beyond the issue, I think I sense a split within 
community gardening between the 'organizers' (a majority) and the 'aggies' (a 
minority). It isn't a simple split, of course. Most of us are strongly drawn 
to both worlds, and no one discounts the value of a delicious tomato or 
golden sunflower grown in a neighborhood garden - or the fundamental 
importance of encouraging community building in everything we do. But the key 
point of disagreement is, I think, how much do horticultural and technical 
questions distract us from the 'greater' purpose of building community and 
strengthening social justice, or even from mastering community garden 

For my part, I see no conflict (though I can understand the alternative 

On the contrary, to my mind, 'plant' questions are an ideal way to make 
contact with people and encourage them to become involved and stay involved 
in community gardening. Beyond that, I personally find it hard to draw a line 
between our plants and our politics. The way we grow our food, and our depth 
of understanding of the ecology of our gardens and communities, profoundly 
influences the way we treat each other and our effectiveness in building a 
world of greater justice and security for all.

Just my opinion. For the record, Celebrity tomatoes do very well in North 
Carolina's Piedmont, using organic fertilization techniques. Is that really 
inappropriate here? How much space did it take?

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte NC

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