Sadly, this great bounty is no more, as green capitalism has won this round.
Aazam Otero, one of the founding gardeners of Morning Glory has decided to make this his personal garden, after we all worked so hard to maintain it, nurture it, care for it, as we built it together, after the City destroyed our previous garden. Aazam locked Lisa, Dakem, other community gardeners and I out of the garden three weeks ago after an escalating worsening condition that he has developed, called “my gardenitis”. This is a condition that some gardeners working in community gardens develop over the years, which is directly related to capitalism, as evident through its expression of masculinist ownership, a.k.a, it is mine all mine.
Sadly, Aazam’s actions have gotten worse and worse over the past year as he has sought to overdevelop the garden, work alone, violating agreements we had made together, made structural changes to it in direct contradiction to our agreements (cutting trees to the sap, destroying a whole bed of aloe vera plants I donated, removing a paved stone path I had laid down), tried to pit Lisa and I against each other, destroyed and planted over a raised bed Dakem had planted, and disrespected the brothers from the shelter across the street who worked the land with us. He finally changed the locks and contacted Green Thumb, the city’s overseer of community gardens, accusing us, get this, of vandalism and violating the bylaws.
The people at Green Thumb, after weeks of asking them to mediate and help resolve the issue, informed Lisa and I via email! this Wednesday, that they agreed with our removal from the garden. They did not have the decency to face us nor hear our side of the story. It seems that Aazam and Green Thumb are at the green capitalism conjuncture, and our repeated requests for a meeting, went unanswered. In talking with other community gardeners, it seems that Green Thumb is going for this, creating commodity-producing community gardens, and if community gardeners don’t go for green capitalism, that land is taken from them and given to those who will.
It is not that complicated, but sad none-the-less, and shows how once again if we do not have access to land titles, we can easily be displaced. And yes, though ownership of land is a messed up concept, that is where we are, after it was stolen from Indigenous peoples. We have worked the land for many years, and have been gentrified and displaced out of three pieces of land that we nurtured together. Our vision was to raise money to pay for the materials and seeds we needed, to create a gift economy of what we grew, and
for people to work the land together. That does not fit into the plans to churn out food as commodities.