As I said, one of the exciting aspects of this new endeavor is that there are so many people who are trying to figure out how to grow food in a healthy, equitable, restorative way. Yesterday, I went to a Meetup hosted by the Boston Food Forest Coalition to work with some fellow farm folks at an Audubon sanctuary in Mattapan (two weeks ago, I attended another BFFC Meetup in Dorchester to plant a food forest on an urban waste plot with about 50 other volunteers and had a lot of fun). The BFFC is a very active organization that works with neighborhoods and neighbors to plant food forests all around Boston.
At the Meetup, I met: Michael, the older Audubon groundsman full of knowledge and energy; Betty just back from Barbados; Mesquita a student from UMass; Gail who has a small apple orchard in Vermont; Alex from Germany, consultant to FIFA and organizer of the pro-soccer league in India; Ginny, a young autistic woman, eloquent and proud of her identity; and Orion, the director of the BFFC, who, as I found out, was a former international development expert (sound like a familiar story?…). I mention all of these folks because the sheer diversity of people interested in growing food in new ways is something to celebrate. Our tasks were to put mouse protection around the fruit trees (Alex and Gail in the photo) and mulch the blueberries and raspberries with wood chips (Orion below).
After we were done, Alex, Orion and I ended up standing around and chatting for another hour. All three of us came together at this garden from various degrees of high-power international careers. So interesting… Topic of the conversation: the very local acts here at the BFFC on the one hand, and a global awareness that this all needs to be linked into much, much larger social shifts. Alex talked about grassroots soccer organizations that ballooned into strong forces of social change. Orion talked about his vision of green cities, with lots of areas for trees and people. I brought up that to have an impact, you need to have an organized network — and we talked a little about what exists already. It was the beginning of a conversation, but I expect I’ll run into Alex and Orion again, and we’ll continue!