9th May 2013: Plant Now, Ask Questions Later by Kate Gilliam

Name of speaker and subject:

Kate Gilliam, Guerilla Gardening

Title of talk:

Plant now, ask questions later

roof garden

Bullet points of what you would like to cover:

  • Green roofs
  • Community gardens
  • Reclaiming public space
  • Gardening with the community
  • Teaching kids to garden
  • Taking the iniative (ask questions later!)
  • ‘You know best’ (how to politely ignore the rules)
  • Importance of getting involved in your city

Suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where
further information may be found:

  • treesnottrashUK.blogspot.co.uk
  • twitter: @treesnottrash
  • www.treesnottrash.org
  • http://www.lizchristygarden.us
  • www.guerillagardening.org

A few words about you and your passion:

I see cityscapes as potential urban growing sites and opportunities to connect people with their environments again. Too often we trade in our connections to nature for an urban existence, but the need to engage on a basic level with our hands in the dirt is still present and so important to nourish. Furthermore, directly engaging in our environment gives us a sense of purpose and confidence that we have the right and the responsibility to positively change our situations. Why shouldn’t we make community gardens where there is nothing but asphalt, and repurpose public space for community projects? Each person has a skill set and a perspective, and by demonstrating an “I can do it” ethos, we can show others how they too can take the initiative and improve their physical environments for themselves, their neighbours, their kids and the city at large.

A few lines about the history of your subject:

I have been improving neighborhoods with guerrilla & community gardening since 2004. I started Trees Not Trash, a non-profit organization in Brooklyn, NY and focused on getting street trees planted and community gardens built for underserved neighbourhoods. Since its inception, Trees Not Trash has had over 2500 street trees planted and has built and maintained 3 community gardens, 4 community green spaces and developed the public outdoor space for the Bushwick Public Library in Brooklyn, NY. Trees Not Trash has since broadened its reach to include Edinburgh, and we are working with Summerhall, Ragged University, Green Roof initiatives, and the Forest Cafe to increase the amount of usable growing space for the people of Edinburgh.

Anything else you may want to say:

We are always looking for volunteers, collaborators, funders and comrades. We are planning a Summit for 2014 to include experts, organizers and thinkers to change the way we approach urban renewal, our relationship with  public space and how we can get change the way things are done. Get in touch! [email protected]