I stumbled across this great Community Vehicular Reclamation Project last summer in the Kensington Market area of Toronto. A group of people towed in a car from the junkyard, filled it with soil, painted it up, planted it with herbs, flowers and a few vegetables, and parked it on the street. This is one of many anti-car events and actions in Toronto involving a group called Streets Are For People, which usually focus on reclaiming car dominated spaces for more enjoyable, creative and productive uses. Kelsey Carriere is one of the founders of Streets Are For People and has been involved in creating and maintaining this garden, and she agreed to talk about the project on camera.
(QuickTime Movie, 04:34 minutes, 23.7 MB, In order to view the video files on this blog, you may need the latest QuickTime software, free to download for both Mac and Windows.)
I love when food production is used as a form of protest! This is a project that was able to create and maintain a small community garden in an intensely urban place - which can be a difficult task. An interesting aspect of this garden is that it is located just up the street from an incredibly multi-ethnic range of shops selling fruit, vegetable, dry goods, fish, cheese and meat. It is one of the best places in Toronto to buy food from around the world, but a fair amount of the food is produced in the Toronto region.
It is quite common to see small scale personal food growing in the back and front gardens of the houses in this diverse neighbourhood, and I think that this area would be a great place for intensive urban market gardening to become established. It is a very mixed-use neighbourhood with a variety of industrial and commercial roof spaces, there is a lot of retail capacity and many local restaurants, there is a need for socially inclusive local employment, there is a huge amount of fertility available in the form of wasted fruit and vegetables, and most importantly it has a history of being unconventional and independent. Perhaps this project has too much of an anti-car focus for people to really see the possibilities and benefits of the food production aspect.
In early September, the car was towed away but luckily it was intercepted half way to the impound lot and returned home. I hope it is still there and that many more of these AutoGardens start to appear.
"The revolution will not be motorized"
Kensington Market AutoGarden Location in Toronto
Detail of the AutoGarden Location