Saturday, 29 May 2010

Beneath the Pavement: a Garden

I took part in a 3 day workshop by artists Amy Franceschini and Myriel Milicevic, to transform a plot of land on Loughborough University campus to illustrate political and social systems. The project, Beneath the Pavement: a Garden, encouraged us to collectively debate, design and create edible landscapes based on political systems. 

The first day we took a trip around Charnwood and the surrounding areas, visiting Organo Compost, Community Harvest Whetstone - a sustainable vegetable co-operative in Leicestershire, Eco-House & Garden, the Carpenters Arms -a Christian-run rehabilitation centre for men suffering from drug/alcohol addiction, and Shelthorpe Garden - a communal garden transformed from a derelict plot of land.  The second day of the workshop involved a programme of speakers who talked about food production, supply and distribution and sustainability. It was fascinating to learn about new sustainable movements, such as 'slow cities' in Norfolk and more local projects such as the Voluntary Action Charnwood's Gardening Project, and how the local Council were tackling these issues. 

The third and final day of the workshop we designed and created our gardens. It was really interesting to see how everyone had different ideas about what a political garden involved.

My group teamed up with another group, to explore ideas of over-population, invasion and resources and how these could be translated into a garden. We had 2 small plots that were connected by a channel of soil. The first plot focused on 'local', sourcing soil from various locations around campus and creating a patchwork grid of soils. This was then left to see what would germinate naturally. 

The second plot had a more 'global' apprach, with imported compost and plants and structures to help the plants spread. We deliberately chose rampant, spreading plants to represent increasing population, such as spiderplants, strawberries, runner beans, sweet peas and grasses. The plot was fertile, rich and diverse and we anticipated it would 'invade' the 'local' plot once it had run out of space and resources. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Heather,
    Thanks for your detailed account of the workshop. I am working on a programme called Urban Fallow and am interested in the work of Future Farmers for the section of the project which will take place in Winchester. It's good to hear your feedback as a participant! The project is still very much in the developing and if you want to take a peek, visit our blog!