Grassroots Gardening: Rituals for Sustaining Activism
In May 2003, Donna Schaper wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, The Heretic in the Hibiscus, that told the story of her rejection from Coral Cables Garden Club because she was too liberal. As it turned out, the ladies of the club feared that she would do what she had done at the Miami church where she was minister, namely bring in blacks and gays to membership and participation. In response to her article, dozens of garden societies across America contacted Schaper, inviting her to join their societies. Schaper argues that people who garden find a ritual way to sustain activism. Dirt touching, seeding, and harvesting rituals keep radicals sane, energetic, and positive. It is more than weeding--and is also just weeding. Many assume gardening is for people with country homes. On the contrary, gardening is a great passion for many progressive, political, communal people. Thus, gardening is a ritual for radicals--for urbans, for nomads, and for anybody who wants to stay sufficiently angry, humble, and hopeful to sustain an activist life.
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