So about 4 weeks ago I was approached by Focal Point, one of the most prestigious art galleries in the South Essex region, and asked if I could build ‘an indoor permaculture garden’ as part of the installation of ‘The Peculiar People’, an upcoming exhibition on ‘Radical Essex’…. “Sure no problem”, says I, with fingers crossed behind my back and already working over-capacity with all the other projects and courses I’ve got on the go… So with plenty of blagging, scrounging, solutions thinking, googling, creative collaboration with Project 49 (a local hub for adults with learning disabilities where I work part time) and lots of co-operation and communication with the Focal Point tech team, we created a series of self-watering containers full of tomatos, squashes, chard, basil, peppers and other herbs in time for the grand opening night, which for the next 4 months will be on display to the public in the gallery window… Considering the time frame involved, minimal costs (for the plastic containers, soil and plants mostly) and the general air of ‘winging it’, I think it looks pretty cool, and it’s a bit of an honour to be displaying work alongside the likes of Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher of Crass, Colin Ward, Eduardo Paolozzi, Allen Sorrell, Orthona Community to name but a few! And if it inspires passers by and visitors to maybe start to grow a few of their own healthy veggies in their own gardens and balconies, that’s got to be a good thing too! I’m also thinking in terms of this being a bit of a prototype for something more planned and ambitious next year… Who’s for a pop-up allotment in the Forum square and a containerised orchard in Victoria Circus??? Maybe even Hundertwasser style vertical gardening up the sides of the Civic Centre???
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