Here, There



/ / / a project in process



* the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.
 
to disperse, a scattering
a country of anywhere
a garden of everywhere
an extended family
an idea seed:














Here, There is an experimental garden project engaging a community of individuals living in or identifying with a diaspora* in some form. Together, we tend mycelial connections across space and time to seed and nourish relations with plants, the earth, each other, and our myriad histories. Through knowledge sharing, researching, and cultivating of a collective garden, a diasporic map is woven between a here and a there in order to, in the words of Stuart Hall, “emphasize the strong links that remain," creating an “extended family,” “a network and site of memory,” presence, and possibility. This invitation is both a physical and a psycho/spiritual/virtual one.

The project is grounded in curiosity, growth work (personal/collective/cultural/spiritual), and the etymology of radical, referring to roots, from Latin radix, referencing the radish (a root vegetable). Diasporic ponderings, ancestral summonings, and musings of shared power influence this venture. It also is inspired by my current research and interest in the food justice and agriculture as resistance movements throughout Boríken (Puerto Rico). Read more about the contemporary practices of resistance, resiliency, and reciprocity here. As someone who often works with maps, sound and music, this project is a continuation of a process that involves practicing and learning to locate/listen beyond notions of aural perception and the self.


To live in communion with the earth fully acknowledging nature’s power with humility and grace is a practice of spiritual mindfulness that heals and restores... We create and sustain environments where we can come back to ourselves, where we can return home, stand on solid ground, and be a true witness.

(hooks, belonging, 119-120)


 
Where is home? How and what does it feel like? How can cultivating ecological sensitivity and attunement to the wisdom of Earth offer us entry ways in re/defining the potentials of our rootedness in ourselves, our histories, our futures, with one another, with Others? What are we composting? How do we care and create the conditions for nourishing soil? How have we shaped plants, and how are we being shaped by them? How may tending be a door to healing generational trauma resulting from colonization or oppression, and/or to celebrate our cultures in community?

















The experimental diaspora garden encourages each individual to acquire seeds from their place of ancestry/homeland and ideally nourish and/or grow a relationship with family members or friends ("land-person connection") who are currently residing there. Participants are asked to choose a particular plant, herb, or vegetable, research its history and significance as a foodway connected to their cultural background, and to share this knowledge with the group during virtual gatherings.

(While the seed-share directly from the "homeland" may not be possible for a variety of reasons, participants are invited to feel into this invitation as best as possible. For example, while a participant may not have a direct land-person connection living in Ghana currently, perhaps they have an elder, or are a part of/can form a relationship with a community living in the diaspora. They might also acquire seeds that are offered through True Seeds African Diaspora Collection.)

You are invited to send some seeds to our garden in Mohican Territory (also known as Pownal in southwest Vermont), where all of the participants’ seeds will contribute to a collective, experimental garden of everywhere. If you have the space and wish to have a more direct relationship with the plant, you may also care for your plant(s) on your personal land or urban/community garden.

Virtual gatherings (TBD - once/twice a month, beginning early May) will be opportunities to share a meal, talk and learn about plants and their stories, intersecting folk knowledges, and/or to feel into ancestral relationships to land/lack thereof. During each meeting, a participant may volunteer to offer a recipe connected to their background, and present their ongoing research as an element of the virtual community meal gatherings. The participant's land-person connection is invited and encouraged to attend the meal as well. Perhaps there is a cooking skill-share, specific reference, reading on diaspora studies, or a particular issue related to current events regarding the chosen place or research that can be discussed as a group.


We require each other in unexpected collaborations and combinations, in hot compost piles. We become with each other or not at all.


(Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble)




The initial seed of the project could disperse and expand into a variety of possibilities beyond the physical garden, including:

  • the design/creation of a virtual garden portal: an online presence of documentation, text, media regarding specific plants and their development over the season
  • the creation of a diaspora garden toolkit that can be opensource and include resources, practices, references to be widely shared
  • skill / knowledge share on cooking techniques, or herbal preparations, etc.
  • grow herbs and make shareable medicines
  • to grow food and share a final meal together in person (if safe… sometime in late mid-August?)
  • undiscovered, potential, collaborative possibilities uplifting individual wellness and collective responsibility
  • some physical documentation of all of the above (publication, booklet)



Application

Application is closed for 2021.


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