SUE JACKSON Therapist | Writer | Photographer | Activist

An avid blogger for the last fifteen years, I believe in the power of the word to change the world. I have participated in, and reported on, a range of protests during this period, including the successful East-West Link campaign and, more recently, our wonderful, home-grown Extinction Rebellion (XR). If you believe, like I do, that it is time for ordinary people to rise up in defence of the planet, I encourage you to explore this blog, share it with your networks, and – of course – take action.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guerilla Gardening Granny

Well it's nothing like three months, but here I am again.
I can't resist crowing from the rooftops (or at least from this blog) that I am now a grandma. Last Saturday, to the delight of our younger son Alexander (Alix), his partner, Jode, gave birth to baby Jhonan at the Women's Hospital here in Melbourne. Jhonan was around 7 pounds at birth, is long and dark-haired and a study in miniature perfections. And his timing was impeccable.
This is a household of Geelong supporters and Saturday was the Grand Final, where, unless you've been on the moon you will know, Geelong were the victors. Obviously Jhonan didn't want to miss the top sporting event of the year and was keen to take up his position as the youngest fan of Geelong.
He is a gorgeous-smelling and cuddly baby and already has brought great joy to family and friends. There are so many emails, presents and good wishes to pass on to his exhausted but thrilled parents that I haven't stopped smiling all week.
I was also smiling back in August when Yarra's street farmers had a coup. Yarra, together with a few other inner city districts, is increasingly dotted with community-initiated gardens. These include council-supported community gardens, planter boxes and guerilla gardens, established by residents on abandoned public land.
I'm involved with the flourishing Windmill Foodgarden @ Tramstop 22 on Queens parade. We were shocked in early August to receive a council notice stating that we either raze our plants within 30 days or the council would do it for us. We later learned that this notice had been sent to all unauthorised street gardens across Yarra.
Gardeners responded immediately, organising strategy-planning meetings and blitzing the council with emails and phone calls. And at the next council meeting, on 18 August, around 60 of us arrived to challenge the draconian proposal.
To our delight, faced with this level of community opposition, the council did a complete about turn. It now supports community-initiated gardens, and hopes to inspire other councils to do likewise.
We didn't need trams or cars for transport after the meeting; we all went home walking on air.