Local Action: OCCUPY the GANG garden next Sunday, November 20th . . .

Here is the second email I’ve now sent out to alert our community to an Occupy action in the GANG (Green Acres Neighborhood Garden) necessitated by the need to heal and transform a conflict that developed over five months ago. Here’s the first.

Believe it or not, this chard bed, planted in early spring, is still regenerating, in mid-November

Dear friends of the GANG,

We are nearing the Ceremony of Impermanence on November 20th (rain date December 3rd), when we will once again transform the GANG. We, the community supporting GANG, will remove the structure in the SW corner of the garden in order to come into compliance with a city ordinance that requires structures to be more than 25 feet from an intersection. This structure includes a ferrocement wall, a cob oven, the table on which the oven sits and the roof over it.

I have received a number of emails and phone calls and visits from neighbors and others about this action that we are required to take. They all voice dismay and sadness, even incredulity; and they also support our decision to absorb and integrate this difficult situation in order to creatively transform it. Borne of conflict, the action is an opportunity for the individuals, the neighborhood, and the city to become more aware, more conscious about projects such as GANG that can bring us into greater health. Rhonda Baird explored the tension and the potential between individual and community in this blog post: vitalconnection.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/working-the-edges/

During the week a number of us have been talking about various ways to repurpose the ferrocement wall, and the final decision is to move it to the northeast corner of my back yard, where it will serve as the background for a community meditation area to be created in the spring. (How about that for fostering health!). My son Colin and my permaculture house guest Jim have already prepared the ground for the wall, leveling it and removing a number of small trees and bushes.

We have also talked about what we might do to replace the cob oven, so that we can still have the capacity to cook food, truly a foundational aspect of a magnetic neighborhood commons. We are looking into the idea of a rocket stove (see, for example:www.rootsimple.com/2007/11/our-rocket-stove.html), a nearly-smokeless structure which we would build during a workshop near the picnic table and pond.

Plans for the formal gate to replace the wall and cob oven are also starting to jell. A beautiful and more functional gate is planned which will welcome people and serve as a landmark within the neighborhood. We are currently envisioning an archway made of the stone for the gate. This would provide a feeling of weight and stability and serve as a dramatic and clear invitation to spend time in the garden.

Friend and permaculture teacher Rhonda Baird and I met Friday over lunch to finalize the plans for the Ceremony. We talked about the juxtaposition of creating places of “permanent culture” and the need to do the Ceremony of Impermanance. Here’s the plan we came up with:

Meet in the garden at 9:45 AM.

Please bring with you something for the potluck, goggles, gloves if you have them, and a piece of paper on which you have written something about your own life that you thought was necessary, but turned out not to be a source of difficulty, and which you are now willing to sacrifice to the altar of impermanence.
We will begin with opening remarks, the story of the garden, fence and cob oven, why it must be removed, and welcome comments from each person present. Then we will do a few other brief ceremonial things, not yet decided, prior to the actual process of “destruction.”

We shall destroy the cob oven first, and dismantle the structures that support it. Each person shall be invited to take a piece of the cob oven to bury in their own garden, as a symbol of rekindling the living fire of community in all Bloomington neighborhoods.


And finally, we shall string up a temporary fence in the gap that we make, and anchor it with some kind of small item that symbolizes the rebirth of the transformed entrance to the garden in the spring of 2012.

Then, we’ll retire to my house for our potluck.

One final consideration: for those who are interested, after the potluck we will hold a discussion of the possible metaphysical, esoteric, “exopermacultural” meaning of both this garden and the process of transforming its SW corner.

So, if possible, plan on being here with us from 9:45 a.m. through about 1:45 p.m. — or any part thereof! The more people who participate in this wrenching process, the more we can transform loss into the living ground of creativity in spring 2012.

Thanks so much!

And blessings,


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4 Responses to Local Action: OCCUPY the GANG garden next Sunday, November 20th . . .

  1. Rich Buckley says:

    Ann, Your array of talents and resources have captured us readers on a spiritual level. Your permaculture demonstration garden could be used to propagate an global co-op for food seeds. The global SEED-bank co-op as some of us invision, would not only produce community food, but HARVEST REPANTABLE FOOD SEED which is then shared with other communities.

    Our world SEED supply has been corporatized and modified to the point that our nation’s ag-industry has become dependent on seed sources that are genetically modified to grow once and not produce new seed.

    My own birth-church, The UMC, where I appear to serve as their resident spiritual heretic – gnostic, for example is like most mainstream western churches: they are disabled from bottom-up independent idea sharing that reflects controversially on Big Business. Among the gammit of issues mainstream Christianity (a list too large to post here) is disabled at its higher corporate church level of organization to educate its church members is of coarse any topic that reeks of corporate conspiracy … such as the mess we find our ag-business in today and the multiple corporate fingers of production and financial controls pulling the strings behind the scenes. The church fathers simply hide the knowledge from the people by blocking communication among laity when direct evidence is brought that because of Big Business corporate influence we have become dependent for the very food we eat on a very centralized cabal of corporate interest which can at whim, cause starvation on a global level. Such power must be broken up.

    Someone just like you Ann, might be able to shape and give context to such a movement by manifesting successfully a broader mission to community and neighborhood gardens. These gardens and their humble gardeners that sense the importance of the work, might willingly commit to growing and learning how to process re-plantable seed in a CO-OP SEED ALLIANCE.

  2. VERY INTERESTING, IN ITALY, LUCKILY WE DO NOT HAVE MANY GENETICALLY …. PLANTS, ND THEY PRODUCE THE SEEDS which can be planted again…. thank you fr posting, the idea of a garden serving a communityI THE FACT THAT,—IS– more EXTRAORDINARY is THAT froma PROBLEM ( demolishing ndmoving the garden),—-you have sorted out an opportunity to create something new.
    be blessed zwith clear light

  3. Pingback: Here's our report on last Sunday's rainy Ceremony of Impermanence . . . – Green Acres Village

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