#PushingThroughThePavement tour @SmilingHogshead Ranch


Last weekend (November 10, 2014) we where part of a 32 city Permaculture Action Tour that was set around a concert tour featuring The Polish Ambassador, Mr. Lif, Ayla Nereo and Liminus. (why not give the music a listen while you read about the action)  Roots Rising, an Occupy the Farm organizer out of San Fransisco, got in touch with the musicians and convinced them to host two day events in each city along their tour route. The first day was the concert, the second was a permaculture day of action. NYC was the final stop on the tour and I was looped in by a permie friend Kelly F. (thanks Kelly!). NYC organizers worked with the tour organizers to put on a three day weekend which included a Friday evening Permie potluck social at The Old Stone House in BK, a moving the farm workday with Feedback Farms and four distinct events on the Sunday after the show, the main site being Smiling Hogshead Ranch with satellite events at La Plaza Cultural in the LES and the Old Stone House in Park Slope. We all left each site in the afternoon and converged upon Boardwalk Community Garden in Coney Island, BK which was bulldozed last year and the case is currently going through a contentious court battle, including, most recently, the judge recusing himself! More on that later.

During the day at the Ranch, we gathered and shared some breakfast, the 7 train was not running so it was a bit of a late start but a hearty crowd did arrive. Our friends from the MoS Collective greeted guests with an orientation, nametags and anarchist oatmeal cookies (anarchist because they are free!) as they arrived. The Polish Ambassador, and Ayla Nereo lead their permie followers in garden projects around the Ranch. We moved finished compost from old compost bins and top dressed many veggie beds for next year. They moved piles of mulch around to reinforce the paths and gathering areas for the Winter and next Spring. Volunteers lined the pond area with newly felled limbs and branches then covered them with leaves, spent plants and soil that was dug out of the pond itself to create a hugelkuture around the pond. The base for the cobb oven made serious progress. More trees invasive trees where cut down to make way for fruiting and productive species. We planted blueberry, goosberry, raspberry, blackberry and strawberry plants. The good people from More Gardens! lead volunteers in banner painting for the afternoon action at Boardwalk Community Garden. Then we took a much deserved break and enjoyed our potluck lunch, which was supplemented by some hot rice and vegetarian chili provided by a local food service company to support our action. This food was also packed up and brought out to Coney Island and the folks meeting at Boardwalk.

After our meal I led a tour af the Ranch. My friend Anthony R. documented this portion and made this nifty video:

After the tour we finished up our banner and all mobilized down to the Boardwalk Community Garden in Coney Island to meet up with the gardeners there and other Perma-Blitz folks participating in action at the two other satelite events in NYC that day. While at Boardwalk we heard garden members speak out against this injustice and illegal act of taking by the developer and the City, we heard renowned permaculture instructor Andrew Faust speak about bio-regional level issues involving self, toxins, and a culture of resistance. We ate and meditated together, we threw seedbombs into the lot and delivered worms and mycelium from the fertile land at Smiling Hogshead Ranch, and we discussed leveraging our movement into larger cultural consciousness streams using new media.

All in all it was an amazing day full of friends, new and old. I learned a lot from the folks who shared their stories, time and wisdom with me and our gardens. It is always so fulfilling working together in the soil and sun with other enthusiastic, adventurous and open minded people. I am extremely thankful for everyone who came out and participated and would like to think all the artists and organizers with the Pushing Through the Pavement tour for including us in your whirlwind of activity and I want to thank all the Smiling Hogshead Ranch members and volunteers who stepped up to make all of this come together. I could never have made any of this happen without each and everyone of you and are thankful for each of you being in my life and a part of this urban gardening world with me!

In peas and SOILdarity,

Gil Lopez


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