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RE: what's appropriate for this list?

  • Subject: RE: [cg] what's appropriate for this list?
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 10:01:06 -0400


Had an experience yesterday that's making me think that Jack & Don might
have something here...

An office mate from  Brooklyn guy bought a house in a part of
"chemical-lawn-fetish" New Jersey. He reads, hates the idea of being a lawn
slave but has gotten the idea that perennials up front and some tomatoes in
back might be a good thing. The house has been certified lead safe, but who
knows about the lawn and backyard where his 6 year old will play. 

A good buddy, I hooked him up with stuff I'd learned from our lead
discussions, printed up some forms from the U Mass soil testing labs, asked
him to check his purchase papers to see if there was a warrant of lead
safety for the grounds around the house, and printed up some goodies from
back issues of "Organic Gardening" for him to look at with some
bibliograhies and web addresses. He's intelligent and will follow through so
I'm not worried. 

What would happen if he went on line and hit our happy little group and got
some automated message that sent him into the arms of chemical gardening
companies, if his six year old kid wanted to dig like his dad and breathes
in some 500ppm lead soil or worse. 

Maybe the community is sometimes bigger than our CGs and extends into the
larger world? If it's some guy who needs orchid growing instructions, we're
not the right place, but for backyard gardeners who might listen to some
non-chemical, organic gardening advice?

It wouldn't hurt...

Adam Honigman  

-----Original Message-----
From: Dboek@aol.com [mailto:Dboek@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2001 11:49 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: Re: [cg] what's appropriate for this list?

As a person on the edges of ACGA who has benefited greatly from the group
this list, I'd like to agree with Jack. While I agree that this list
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
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
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
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'
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
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
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

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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