Saturday, April 24, 2010

Guerrilla Gardening Special on Channel 6

I'm off my turf today. Being sick I have had the chance to put myself up to date on local TV. Experience seems to indicate that besides channel 6 (goverment), 40 (Ana G. Mendez University) and 13 (TeleOro) the rest of the TV is essentially crap. Can be local crap or imported crap from the states.
Today I decided to post something in English, just for the sake of it.

The subject is off my turf because the most active voice on this subject is Antigonum Cajan, on his blog Endemismo Trasnochado ( Not only he speaks theory, he explains his lonely efforts on the Santurce area. Ironically I was thinking that what the efforts made in the Old San Carlos Hospital and the surroundings of the Sagrado Corazon train station have made.
I thought of this while I walked the old urban center of Bayamon. This area, where I spent my weekends since Middle School is now a sham of its former self. Many abandoned buildings with a very nice sign that shows the new center that has been standing there for over 2 years. Some grass, abandoned buildings, but no vegetation, not even small bushes or wildflowers. It is so sad and gray. Today I was watching an old BBC documentary on the Create Network (this is 6-2) with a success story of the Guerrilla Gardening on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was a large effort that began with the effort of 1 woman that wanted some yard area to have her children play and cleaned up an abandoned lot with some neighbors. Anyway...the photo of her is above. Liz Christy, is that activist on the first garden back in 1973... These community efforts are what we need here. Not more recycling drives. We know recycling is good already, lets move to stage 2...
The channel should repeat this program. It should be required discussion on Social Studies in schools. Showing empowerment beyond getting cupones. Hope they rerun it a lot and some politician or environmentalist group takes a lead on the approach. This type of approach only works when there are many volunteers and a healthy community.
Will Santini continue to alienate Santurce residents? The dominican community?

It is ironic that today the Municipality of Bayamon has a Graffiti contest in Parque de las Ciencias. Why there? Wouldn't it have been more sustainable and meaningful to do this in the abandoned building areas with Community Building theme? No. Our government and the sponsors behind the competition (saw Benjamin Moore Paint as a sponsor) thought this activity best for Parque de las Ciencias, a closed park that you pay to visit. Great message, for a closed loop.

In their case of New York they take foreclosed land lots and do land acquisition made by donations, similar to the job being done by the Fideicomiso de Conservacion. An impressive effort that has joined dissimilar communities with different ethnicities.

Got some links here on the subject:

The map of Lower East Side Gardens here:

And the more subversive ones do this instead of Graffiti:

Guess I'll need to be sick more often. I am limited to watching TV and using the netbook.

Tags en Blogalaxia


Kofla Olivieri said...

When I moved to New York in 1983, lived briefly in El Barrio, 111 street and Lexington Ave in Manhattan. I thought it was fascinating to see people transforming empty lots into a small casita garden.

I remember when Governor Rosello eliminated ALL the trees leading to El Morro Castle. Such a senseless decision, and from what I've heard, the tree massacre, deforestation of Old San Juan still continues.

Beato said...

Back in memory lane. I loved those trees back in the day. They gave the park personality. I know the decision to knock down the trees was made by the Federal Park Administration, to preserve the original military condition of the area. Stupid and senseless if you ask me!
Went there to fly some kites a few weeks ago, forgot how hot it has become there, since there is no shade or foliage to block the sun...
Only thing is, this was at the end of the second Cuchin administration, as part of the remodeling of Ballaja and the installation of the Totem Telurico. If it were Rossello the press would have blamed him for all eternity.

antigonum cajan said...

Living in Manhattan under Giulani was an nice environmental trip. Everyone on WELFARE, was put to clean, prune, plant and reforest every park in the City. It was a golden time.

Your post is excellent, it shows
that every urban area close by in Puerto Rico,is in shambles. With a little imagination, requiring some guts, anyone could make a little change, even if no one notices.

But unless one has money to buy plants tolerable for specific contexts: shade/sun/drought, one
has to collect/propagate them.

Then, one day, better after if it has rained,
go and plant them with appropriate tools.

By the way, endemismo is no longer.
Now it is: antigonum cajan evening
My account is no longer accessible thanks to a hacker....until then.

Beato said...

Sorry to hear your account was hacked. Will follow the new page...

antigononum cajan said...

If you walk around the Plaza/Church in Bayamon look carefully at the many old Ficus benjamina still standing.

If they look hollow in the center with a vague circular shape in the canopy the many years of being victims of machete pruning are the cause.

There is a relation between roots/branches that ignorant fools
do not know. If you look in any plaza
in Puerto Rico where Ficus, Mahogany
and others have been mutilated to look like ice cream or I scream cones, that is the result after decades. And that is that..

antigonum cajan said...

Another post. One of those rare founded anywhere. Since this post, the San Carlos theater, has been raided twice.

But I tell you that, in the same manner Round up created resistant weeds, every raid, provides nutrients, sun, light, ventilation to seeds dormant, waiting for the opportunity to do their thing.

For this reason, I no longer feel any sadness or frustration. Self seeding vegetation in the urban,
concrete/asphalt context, are almost indestructible to inefficient management practices.

Beato said...

Did not relate the weed resilence to the guerrilla gardening and seed bombs. It is a good thing.
On the MMO and Monsanto article ([253]) it is interesting to note that the grafting expertise of the coca farmers fares good against slicing genes in a lab...

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