“Garden of Earthly Delights: A Grassroots Occupation”

 

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“Garden of Earthly Delights:  A Grass Roots Organization” is a research proposal that was developed to support the creation of new space, both real and imagined, that will foster creative strategies, artistic interventions and diverse cultural partnerships responding to issues specifically related to genetically modified organisms (GMO) seeds, food security, and edible planetary sustainability.

By deepening the innate awareness of ourselves as ecological beings interconnected in all ways, this interventionist strategy will bring together students, artists, curators and creative thinkers to research, plan, and develop art interventions that work towards creating models for eco-sustainability. This proposal calls uponpractical means for transforming food environments into ways that are enduring, energizing, and perhaps most importantly, engage various sectors of the community in a move that affects everyone on the most basic universal level by controlling the food we eat.

Acknowledging previous collaborative efforts and utilizing existing examples from a number of artistic and community based projects oriented towards sustainability and food security, “Garden of Earthly Delights: A Grassroots Occupation”, will undertake subversive practices to foster and promote continued awareness of the ripple effect corporate globalization currently has on the planet.

As corporate giant Monsanto continues to grow in strength we bear witness to small farming businesses in India and North America struggling just to survive.

Monopolistic control of the seed industry by biotechnology/chemical companies must be stopped. Farmers must always be allowed to save their own seeds and to be free from the payment of royalties to biotech corporations. Further, farmers need to be free from the threat of being sued for patent infringement.

Informed by the pro-active research work conducted by well-known scientist/philosopher, Vandana Shiva, who founded Navdanya, a not for profit organization in India that promotes the use of native, non GMO seeds, this project will combine visual production with gardening/farming as a vehicle for further edification of the ubiquitous problems resulting from corporate food tampering where ecology, economy, and humanity are being affected.

In recent years artistic/activist practices have seen subversive works such as seed-bombing and guerilla gardening, typically in the form of wild flowers, as an aesthetic tactic to facilitate the beautification of decaying or vacant urban landscapes. Inspired by the desire to create visual improvements to urban landscapes these artists were successful in creating an awareness of issues related to decaying areas in larger city centres. Using these pro-active, community based artistic works as an inspirational point of departure, “Garden of Earthly Delights…”, aims to create a new type of awareness around food and eatable gardens. Dealing primarily with food-safety, proper nutrition, and the ethical distribution of food through gardening, Earthly Delights will research and develop ways in which subversive art practices can move beyond the beautification of landscape to create tangible space for edible vegetation.

In summation, this is a project about the architecture of gardens as sites for change, critique, culture, and self-organization. Perhaps most importantly, this research is about expanding awareness for one of the most basic of human rights, which is having access to healthy food stuffs.

Think before you take your next bite.

Susan Edelstein

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