Getting Intimate

via Ran, a great Sharon Astyk piece, going over a lot of the ground I’m trying to cover here: ‘Getting Intimate With My Weeds‘. This in particular sounds familiar:

As the soils heal and grow, some of those that do best in disturbed and disrupted sites are beginning to fade away.

Working to undisturb the disturbance… Preparing the way for those-who-come after… She also sees humans as ‘a weedy species’:

We too like disturbance, crop up in prolific numbers and invade new habitats without regard for the natives.

(Though as a good Quinnian I balk at the reference to an all-encompassing ‘humanity’ and am beginning to wonder if the many cultures of our species mightn’t be better suited to properly established, Old Growth communities.)

Great quotes on invasive species from Edible Forest Gardens author David Jacke:

If you understand succession ecology, you will understand that there’s no way a plant or animal alone can be responsible for the way it behaves. Invasion is only possible in the context of a certain kind of ecosystem situation. The first cause of succession is the availability of a site or niche. If there’s no site or niche available, no invasion can occur…. If invasion is not succession then what the hell is it? […] most plants that are considered invasive are disturbance adapted species. (original link)

I had an interesting dinnerparty conversation where I picked up on some people badmouthing an ‘invasive species’ and continued their line of thought with tricksy earnestness: “Yeah those damn foreigners coming over and stealing all the jobs of our native-borns. They should all go back where they came from before they get what’s coming to them” to expose the curious parallels with the language of racism and genocide. I think I managed to make it thought-provoking rather than snide and sarcastic – though some were clearly baffled rather than enlightened…

Anyway, I feel like Astyk has given me the opportunity to confess what a newbie I am to all this: it’s only been about a year and a half since I started to pay proper attention to plants and I’ve made slow progress. Astyk is way ahead of me in terms of direct experience and nuance tempered by reality. I’ve come to (descended to?) a lot of this from headspace and philosophising based on things I’ve read that made sense to me – ‘made sense’ while my actual senses gathered dust on the bookshelf (thanks DA) – so consider yourselves warned: I may at times spill over into groundless ideology and become one of Bill Mollison’s (and the soil’s) enemies:

I can easily teach people to be gardeners, and from them, once they know how to garden, you’ll get a philosopher. But I could never teach people to be philosophers – and if I did, you could never make a gardener out of them.

When you get deep ecologists who are philosophers, and they drive cars and take newspapers and don’t grow their own vegetables, in fact they’re not deep ecologists – they’re my enemies.

But if you get someone who looks after himself and those around him – like Scott Nearing, or Masanobu Fukuoka – that’s a deep ecologist. He can talk philosophy that I understand. People like that don’t poison things, they don’t ruin things, they don’t lose soils, they don’t build things they can’t sustain. (source, via)

… but I’m working to avoid that pitfall. Hopefully I can provide a useful ‘Idiot’s Guide’ along the way 🙂

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2 Responses to “Getting Intimate”

  1. Fascism in the garden « Frequently Found Growing On Disturbed Ground Says:

    […] touched before on the ‘curious parallels’ between the language people use when speaking about […]

  2. grazia Says:

    … i’m Sardinian…sorry to say that no traditional bread or cake is made out of chestuts. In Tuscany, however, is very popular and spread all over the region the “castagnaccio”, which is made with chestut flour

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