I’ve been walking around the East Side a lot lately, from 3rd Ave to the East River, and then along the water. I’ve walked past the many community gardens in the neighborhood, and it was exciting to finally learn about the origin and existence of these gardens from an expert. I am especially interested in the legal politics of community gardens, and how they exist outside the matrix of capitalism… I think that what that represents is really important. Anyway, I found the guy who gave the tour (Bill? Dave?) to be a very closed-off mansplainer, and when I tried to ask him about other things I was interested in he was short with me. Perhaps I got a bad read on him, but he soured the experience for me.
What MORUS does is really incredible. They fight for environmental justice wherever help is needed. After hurricane Sandy, they used their power-generating bike to create a free community charging station. They also fed people in the neighborhood who didn’t have access to food. In turn, volunteers helped bail out the flooded basement. It is inspiring to know that organizations like this exist, because when the government fails to protect the people (as it always will) it is integral to human survival that we help each other survive, and advocate for the rights of our neighbors.
We also got to see a couple squats, which were SO DOPE. The rooftop garden we visited was absolutely magical, and it really got me thinking about what an incredible network of positive energy would be created if there were community gardens of every roof.
In conclusion, I learned a lot about the thriving environmental culture of the East Side. I am beginning to learn about the ways Manhattan is going to protect itself from climate change, such as the use of perforated concrete to allow access water to seep back into the ground. I am really interested in getting involved with MORUS, and the Alphabet City community gardens. I was also inspired to bring my bike to New York next time I go home. Oh! And I am trying to reform the way I buy food, and be more conscious about how far my food travels.