I really hate to get all gooey and girly and squeee here because it’s very embarassing and unbecoming but holy cow how much do I love Michael Pollan. I believe you have to be a subscriber to read it, but take a look at this article in the New York Times.
“Cook. And if you can, plant a garden. To take part in the intricate and endlessly interesting processes of providing for our sustenance is the surest way to escape the culture of fast food and the values implicit in it: that food should be cheap and easy; that food is fuel and not communion. The culture of the kitchen, as embodied in those enduring traditions we call cuisines, contains more wisdom about diet and health than you are apt to find in any nutrition journal or journalism. Plus, the food you grow yourself contributes to your health long before you sit down to eat it. So you might want to think about putting down this article now and picking up a spatula or hoe.”
I would so be out there right now doing that very thing if it were not the dead of winter. The indoor plants are great and all… I had a nice session this morning bathing the orchids and epiphytes… soaking in the smell of wet bark and sand. But I’m really missing that time spent outdoors in the gardens picking dead foliage, and rubbing fragrant leaves and flowers between my fingers. I have never missed the growing season as much as I do right now. It’s like an ache inside that I am only really experiencing for the first time. I am actually tearing up just thinking about it. Wow am I ever a sap.
I’m going to be interviewed live on “The Artist’s Lifestyle” talking about You Grow Girl, gardening, and the art.
When: Tuesday, Jan 30. 5:30-6:00pm
What: 93.3 FM CFMU
To listen online: Go to the website and click on “webcast” [left sidebar].
It’s a tad pricey at $13.00 for 2 yards but this fancy-pants woven ribbon from the Cooper Hewitt shop would make fantastic trim on your garden apron. Or maybe use just snip a little piece for a bookmark in your gardening journal.
And well… it’s not just ribbon, it’s ART!
via Julie Jackson
This is not at all related to gardening but as this site is about to hit its seventh anniversary early next month (I no longer have a record of the exact day but Feb 2000 was the launch), today’s cover story in local Toronto weekly Eye Magazine really hit a nerve, touching me in all the right and wrong places.
The story, “Fight Club: For Independent Magazine Publishers, Love is a Battlefield” written by Dale Duncan one of the founding editors of the brilliant local indie publication Spacing Magazine, addresses the difficulties and challenges of running an independent magazine and brings attention to public misconceptions both in terms of how profitable such an endevor is and how much work and sacrifice is involved.
“…there is a gap between how much we’re loved and the financial support we receive in return for what we do. When publishing your own magazine takes up almost all your free time, the awards you receive, the readers you inspire and the influence you wield will only keep you going for so long. The issue here is sustainability Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if you don’t eventually receive a paycheque for your work, burnout sets in, and when that happens, magazines that fill those gaping holes left by mainstream media run the risk of extinction.”
I’ve been struggling with these issues for nearly the entire seven years I’ve been publishing this site. I have tried over the years to find ways to either make this a profitable, paying endeavor for both myself and contributors or keep it casual, reduce the workload and even minimize my own internal expectations. This has been easier said than done and it’s been quite a ride navigating both roads all in a race to avoid that inevitable burnout monster. The last year alone has been nothing short of insane with an increasing weight looming over the last six months. Part of it simply comes down to the fact that seven years is a long time and I’m getting older. Both the site and myself have reached a critical point that follows that old, rather crass adage, Shit or get off the pot. This project has the potential to be more than I can possibly continue to grow on my own but how to get there without selling out has been trying and filled with big starts and even bigger stops.
I don’t want to turn this into a festival of self-pity since this is also an experience I would choose again despite the pitfalls. But I want to thank Dale for writing this piece for both giving me a sense of connectedness at a time when I feel alone and unsure, and for bringing wide attention to the importance and need to seek out and provide support to indie media in this country. It’s in independent media that I most see my own life and values reflected and where I find challenging information, connectivity, and spirit.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We need to challenge this idea of [publishing being a] labour of love because we really need independent media,Ã¢â‚¬Â she argues. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There’s a difference between saying I want to run a magazine that pays its staff and I want to be Ted Rogers. It’s hard to say to people ‘I want to get paid for my work.’ But living costs money.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I recently returned from a short trip to New York City. This was a purely personal trip so despite the cold I did what I love best, wandering the streets with my camera. My favourite part of the city is The Lower East Side, The East Village, and Alphabet City areas. This upper part of this area also happens to be the birthplace of the modern community and guerilla gardening here in North America. There are several imaginative and beautiful gardens scattered amongst the buildings that were born in the late 70′s and early 80′s out of the community’s desire to turn dangerous, abandoned waste spaces into safe and useful community spaces for the neighborhood. While locals and organizers have had to arduously fight against rising real estate value and gentrification to keep the gardens alive, a few have been granted park status by the city and remain in place. If you ever get a chance to visit New York I highly recommend getting a peek at some of the gardens. You can use this searchable map to locate and map out all of the gardens in the area.
This is the 6th and Ave B Garden [Note: This photo was taken in May 2005], a massive garden that takes up the entire corner of a city block. The garden’s website chronicles its history and shows what the block looked like when it was just a pile of rubble and debris.
Eddie’s Sculpture at the 6th and B Garden. This sculpture has created a lot of controversy. I was surprised to see it was still there just a few days ago.
Unfortunately, the gardens were all closed for the winter but I still managed to take a few pictures by poking my lens through fences.
I was also fortunate enough to visit many of these gardens as a part of my book launch back in May 2005. You can see more pictures from that trip here.