Guerilla Gardeners: Resistance is Fertile

We have heard murmurs of guerilla gardening in London and other places; now this scourge has hit Toronto. Often under cover of night, they skulk around town, vandalizing public space with flowers. Working covertly they descend on neglected planters, traffic medians and forlorn strips of dirt and attack them with trowels, spoons and their bare hands, performing random acts of planting, often around billboards and bus shelters. "Its a subtle way of protesting public space being privatized and of demanding advertisers remove their mark from space that was meant for the people" Co-ordinator Lindsay Kelly told the National Post."Its a quieter way to make a statement".

According to Eye, They attacked a plot in the club district. People would ask what they were doing. "People are inspired by the fact that you're doing it not because you're being paid or because it's where you live, but by the fact that you're doing things intrinsically," [activist Carly] Stasko says. "It's organic culture-jamming."Eye continues: The guerrilla gardeners are an assortment of artists, computer programmers, grandmothers and high school students. All of them believe surreptitious planting is a fun way to reclaim physical space in the city. "People have an inherent reluctance to test the limits of public space," says [Guerilla Henry] Martinuk, who hates that people are intimidated by space that is, essentially, theirs.

And while there is an absurd element to gardening in secret locations by the light of a battery-powered bicycle light, the act of planting is as important as the plants themselves.

"We're conditioned to think we have to spend money to hang out with each other," says Sastko. "Instead of consuming, you're producing something."

We learn from Spacing that at a particularly benighted interesection next to the tracks at Toronto's Dufferin and Queen, the Guerilla Gardeners attacked with flowers and photographer David Risk planted a photography exhibition from his collection, on display until "they succumb to either the elements or "the human problem." ::Guerilla Gardeners

Tags: Gardening

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