Feb. 7th, 2012
All they are saying, is, “Give peas a chance”:
Occupy Gardens Toronto Challenges Unsustainable Global Food System
This post was written by Katie Berger – MES Candidate, York University
“It’s Thyme” they cry, “Lettuce Occupy Gardens for World Peas!” This is the callout from the organizers of the first annual World Peas Expo. The Expo, set for February 11, 2012 is the first major event held by Occupy Gardens Toronto, a growing collective of guerrilla gardeners inspired by the international Occupy movement and situated within Occupy Toronto.
In their own words, Occupy Gardens Toronto represents “the next step in our (vegetable) stand against inequality, corporate corruption and greed, growing hunger and the destruction of life itself.” They note that factors including rising global food prices, corporate dominance of the food system, socially unjust food production and distribution mechanisms that lead to hunger and malnutrition and also to diet related diseases including diabetes and obesity pose a serious threat to the well-being of all people. Food security, they argue, is security. They are highly critical of the industrial food system which is rapidly depleting the Earth’s arable soil, polluting the air and water, and requires clear-cutting of more forests to remain viable. As Earth’s population continues to grow they assert, we must transition to an alternative system of sustainable means of food production in order to feed ourselves, each other and our children and allow other forms of life on Earth to flourish.
One of the main foci of Occupy Gardens Toronto is on educating young people about food, food production and food security. Since schools generally do not teach kids about this central aspect of our lives, they aim to teach youth how to grow food, cook it and share it. They plan to create community gardens that will become living laboratories where youth and adults can engage cooperatively in experiential learning. They will also be organizing a FreeSkool to teach about permaculture, gardening, seeds, soils, plants, cooking, canning and preserving, caring for fruit trees, keeping bees and chickens, and more.
Through the World Peas Expo, Occupy Gardens Toronto aims to emphasize the connections between food security and peace – the power of food to bring people together, bridge differences, and reduce conflict. The schedule/structure for the day is flexible and will include guest speakers, themed discussions, workshops/skill sharing, a seed exchange, and tabling space. The focus will be on community building, sharing, learning and plotting for a mass seeding of the city that Occupy Gardens Toronto is planning for this spring known as “The Radish Revolution.” The organizers encourage participants to bring the following:
- Friends and loved ones
- Art and art supplies (think banners/posters/tshirts/edible containers etc)
- Music – strings, wind, song & dance
- Food – small healthy dish of food to share (think raw, veg, local, organic + re-usable bowls/utensils)
- Information and educational materials on gardening and all things pertaining to food
- Passion for community, mutual fulfillment, and co-creation
The event is FREE & Open for any and all to participate.
It will be held from 11-5pm at OISE, UofT in rooms 2214, 2211, and weather permitting, outdoors in the Parkette next to the building.
For upcoming meetings and events and to connect with other budding green-thumbs visit the Occupy Gardens Toronto Community page at https://www.facebook.com/occupygardenstoronto?ref=ts
- Jack Layton Award Presentation
- Exceptional Teacher Across Canada Honoured by Grand & Toy
- 2012 Reponsible Citizenship Roundtables
- Annual ESD Symposium 2012
- Online Interactive Presentation by David Bell – Oct 5 12-1pm – The Challenges of Sustainability and the Role of ESD (Education for Sustainable Development)