Friday, 15 June 2012

Community, Celebration, and Gratitude

Check out our new sign!!  Thanks Chessa!

As has become our tradition, we gathered in a circle this afternoon to acknowledge the land, humans, and more-than-human beings that make The Orchard Garden possible.  Today we came together for our 2nd Annual Summer Celebration as a kick-off to the growing season (CSA starts next Thursday!), to recognize the efforts of our team, our volunteers, and our university administration that continues to support our work as students and learners in this space.

The Dean of Land & Food Systems, Murray Isman, spoke of the power of student determination and grassroots efforts, as well as the unique urban agricultural context of The Orchard Garden on a university campus.

We enjoyed garden-inspired food and drinks made by the student team including:  grilled potatoes and herbs from the garden, blackberry and apricot juice, green salad from the garden, local strawberries, rhubarb crisp, grilled Asian greens from the garden, quinoa salad, lemon poppyseed cake, and lavender shortbread.  The food disappeared in a matter of minutes!

People ate in the grass and enjoyed the rare sunshine.
After our shared lunch, we were joined by a class of teacher candidates in art education and two local artists, Sharon Kallis and Brian Jones, who discussed their work in traditional and contemporary weaving practices.

Sharon describes her work of weaving with invasive plants and engaging community in ephemeral, place-based eco-art throughout the city.

Sharon uses invasive Himalayan blackberry

and Scotch broom...

The group is intrigued by Sharon's innovative and sustainable ideas...

Continuing the conversation of engaging with the land in creative ways, Julia discussed her performative PhD research and the ways she's considering the history of school gardens as well as the assumptions of how classrooms and classroom management are constructed (indoors and outdoors).

Julia points out that maybe weeds represent the chaos and noise that erupts and interrupts an ordered classroom...

Brian Jones, also a local artist, hails from England and is trained in agriculture and traditional forms of weaving.  He discussed the importance of harvest celebrations and the many intricate methods of weaving with almost anything at hand.

Brian's box of weaving treasures

A visitor learns how to braid spelt

Plates were scraped, grasses were woven, weeds were pulled and the rain held off even as clouds loomed ominously.  Susan & Julia graced us with their music and people continue to explore the garden and chat until well past 4pm.  

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day beautiful- especially to Julia, Jay, Natasha, Chessa, Susan, Lauren, Alison, Brian, Sharon & Dean Isman.  What a privilege to be part of this community...

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