This second webinar in our monthly series on Sustainability and the Pandemic will feature Katja Neves and Andrea Tremblay in discussion about the role of gardens in the (post)Covid world. Katja Neves will focus on the suburban while Andrea Tremblay will focus on the urban context.
How can you participate? Join the discussion by registering for the Zoom webinar or watch live on our Facebook.
Katja Neves: Suburban gardening in the aftermath of the CoVid crisis
Shortly after Northern Americans went into lockdown last Spring, the first concerns with the resilience of our food supply chains and food security began to emerge. Soon,
calls for the revival of Victory Gardens (VCs) began to circulate on social media. Ubiquitous during the last few years of the WWII and the years that immediately followed, Victory Gardens had been government lead initiatives mainly in the UK and in the US whereby citizens were asked to dig out their front-yard lawns and replace them with edible plants. While the idea of a Victory Garden revival certainly has its appeal, it is also quintessentially a white middle class project that was meant as a temporary measure. When it comes to its revival, the Victory Garden is also imbued with a series of shortcomings that render it less than adequate in the context of a CoVid world. These include, amongst others, the following matters. 1) The risk of overshadowing the importance of urban food production among racialized groups of people and/or immigrants — many of whom have been addressing serious issues of food insecurity in urban contexts collectively and effectively for a very long time. 2) At the present juncture matters of urban food security — or food security in general — can no longer be addressed without consideration of ecological concerns and environmental sustainability as was the case with WWII VGs. 3) The current legal framework for suburban gardening, specifically its by laws, is generally an obstacle to the implementation of VGs as a long term solution to the attainment of sustainable food security in suburbia. This presentation presents these matters in relation to the wider context of the politics of real estate in Northern America’s suburban areas.
Andrea Tremblay: The urban community garden in times of pandemic: Adaptations to the crisis
The fast spread of the coronavirus at the beginning of 2020 and its devastating effects on our communities, particularly on seniors, has shown how quickly we can be forced to alter our way of life. Food security and isolation, identified as two of the main concerns for the senior members of our communities prior to the pandemic, were greatly aggravated by the global scourge.
A hub for community interaction and for engaging in conversations, the mind.heart.mouth collective garden project, established on Concordia University’s Loyola Campus in 2019, promoted food sovereignty and intergenerational community participation through a practice of care for the garden and a community of seniors and volunteers as much as for the neighbouring community.
This presentation considers how intergenerational projects like the mind.heart.mouth collective garden were adapted to keep supporting vulnerable communities during these challenging times.