After the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster I didn’t stay abreast of what was going on. If you stopped me in the street and asked me what the conditions there were like, and what happened to the residents, I probably would have said everyone was evacuated from the area.
Aside from a few stories that came across my social stream, I haven’t paid much attention. I saw the story about mutated butterflies and assumed that everything--pollinators and plants--had been affected and nobody would be bothering growing gardens for a long time.
Then I saw the pictures by Bunniepants on Reddit of a volunteer day she participated in through the Save Minamisoma Project, where volunteers deliver fresh produce to Fukushima residents every two weeks.
She documented a few of the micro gardens that have popped up in containers at the temporary housing set up for victims of the nuclear power plant disaster. At first blush they may not seem like much to look at, but these gardens represent the indomitable spirit of gardeners everywhere.
Remnants of a wall of bitter melon vines, in containers filled with what looks like commercial potting soil mixes. Which is a safe bet considering that the soil in the ground could be contaminated, and make growing food unsafe.
A screen of cherry tomatoes on a trellis made of bamboo stakes provides privacy in front of sliding glass doors, and blocks the sun.
Whether they’re just to beautify our surrounding, or to help put food on the table, nothing connects us to what we are more than gardens.
This is why it is particularly infuriating when cities attack front yard vegetable gardens used to educate youth, when cities cut down the gardens people use to heal themselves, when vandals destroy pumpkin patches in the middle of the night, or when city officials tell someone a front yard veggies garden is an eyesore. They’re not just attacking and destroying plants and vegetables--they’re attacking our very spirit.