The UNITY Garden Collective
Greg at Imaja
Through planting gardens and teaching permaculture in urban areas, we can build community, restore healthy ecosystems, insure the survival of heirloom and native seeds, eat pesticide- and GMO-free food, and enjoy working together to do it. Together we are building a web of people committed to helping each other move toward living sustainably and sharing the abundance the earth provides.
But I don't have a farm...
Most people in urban areas don't have a lot of time or space for gardening. But that doesn't mean we can't grow our own food. When we join together we find that what one person lacks, another has a surplus of. There is something everyone can contribute. If you have a yard, you can contribute the space. If you have a free Saturday once in a while, you can contribute your energy. If you have a south-facing window, you can grow starts and cuttings. If you have a slab of concrete, we can build a greenhouse.
How does it work?
Someone wants a garden or a greenhouse. Others want to help create it. We bring donated seeds, starts, and salvaged building materials. Then we invite our friends and neighbors, bring some food and music, and we all come together for a planting or building party in the sunshine (or the fog, if we^re in the city!). As anyone who gardens knows, harvest usually provides us with much more than we could possibly eat by ourselves. And so we share. One person has extra tomatoes, another has no tomatoes but more squash than they know what to do with... you get the picture. We'll put together a list of who grew what, and if someone has something you'd like, just call and ask! It's not buying, selling, or trading, just helping each other and sharing the abundance!
Community gardens provide an opportunity to unite and find that power that comes when we all join together. We can transform concrete to vegetable gardens, rooftops to nurseries, empty lots to beautiful community spaces. In the garden we can build friendships, share information and skills, and teach our children about the inter-connectedness of all life. The Unity Collective is a family of people who understand that our hope for a healthy future depends on our joining together to take care of each other and the earth, and we are committed to helping each other in whatever ways we are able. Whatever hurts any part of the community hurts each of us, and whatever benefits the community benefits us all. We are all connected, so it^s time to unite!
The Unity Collective: In San Francisco, contact Aasha Kai and Liz are out of town, so contact Greg at Imaja at (510) 526-4621 or e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>, or email@example.com. In Sebastopol, you can find our sister organization, Planting Earth Activation, or P.E.A., at (707) 829-7069.
Fun but urgent...
Our world population just hit 6 billion. Multi-national corporations are exploiting labor worldwide and irreparably damaging the environment. Our economies are dependent on consumption, yet we are running out of healthy soil, intact ecosystems, and fossil fuel resources. We can't wait for some scientist or politician somewhere to "fix it." We all need to take action immediately and be a part of the shift to a way of life that will leave a healthy world for our grandchildren. In our affluent society it's tough to imagine widespread lack of the basics of life, such as food on the dinner table, medicine when we're sick, clean drinking water, and all of the little things that make life comfortable for us. But this is the reality of most of the world, and as we use the last of the planet's oil, clearcut the remaining forests, and rely on less diverse crops, we can't assume we'll be immune from shortages. More importantly, we must take responsibility for all of the world's inhabitants. It is our excessive consumption patterns that are causing most of the world to live with these conditions, as our demand combined with economic and political institutions such as the IMF, Word Bank, NAFTA and the WTO force people worldwide to produce for export instead of for their own needs. As our environmental crises are showing us, what affects some of us ultimately affects all of us. We obviously can't ignore the situation much longer. Nor can we leave it up to "someone else." The solution to these challenges requires all of us to examine our lives and look at the long-term consequences of all of our actions, among them the source of the food we eat.
We can choose differently
Taking action is often simple, fun, and enormously satisfying. Each purchase we make is an act of creation; we are promoting the production of more of whatever we purchased. So when we purchase pesticide-sprayed vegetables shipped in from thousands of miles away, we are contributing to the production of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, the contamination they cause to our water and land, fossil fuels, air pollution, monocropping and the degradation it causes to topsoil, etc. When we grow our own food, or buy locally grown organic foods, we no longer contribute to the existence of these things in our world. By eating food from our local area we begin to identify the true ability of the land to support both human and non-human life in balance. We learn that the better we care for the earth, the better the earth can in turn provide for all life. At the same time, we get to know our neighbors and reconnect with those around us, with the earth, and often with ourselves.