The fundamental metaphor of National Socialism as it related to the world around it was the garden, not the wild forest. One of the most important Nazi ideologists, R.W. Darré, made clear the relationship between gardening and genocide: “He who leaves the plants in a garden to themselves will soon find to his surprise that the garden is overgrown by weeds and that even the basic character of the plants has changed. If therefore the garden is to remain the breeding ground for the plants, if, in other words, it is to lift itself above the harsh rule of natural forces, then the forming will of a gardener is necessary, a gardener who, by providing suitable conditions for growing, or by keeping harmful influences away, or by both together, carefully tends what needs tending and ruthlessly eliminates the weeds which would deprive the better plants of nutrition, air, light, and sun. . . . Thus we are facing the realization that questions of breeding are not trivial for political thought, but that they have to be at the center of all considerations, and that their answers must follow from the spiritual, from the ideological attitude of a people. We must even assert that a people can only reach spiritual and moral equilibrium if a well-conceived breeding plan stands at the very center of its culture.” (pp.589-90)
I’ve touched before on the ‘curious parallels’ between the language people use when speaking about so-called invasive species and the ‘language of racism and genocide’, especially when you compare it to tabloid-style attitudes toward immigrants ‘stealing all the jobs of our native-borns’. It has also become increasingly apparent to me – as I work in the gardens of acquaintances and friends of the family doing all the ‘necessary’ but physically taxing tasks of mowing, weeding, pruning, trimming, and as I continue to work with a volunteer conservation group manipulating local habitats in an effort to replace ‘unwanted’ with ‘wanted’ plant & animal species – that the prevalent cultural attitudes and subsequent actions toward those we term ‘weeds’ closely resemble the irrationality, fear, prejudice and blind hatred so often evident in acts of genocide.
everybody has something to contribute, even if we have a hard time seeing it.
You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. (link)
"Funny. . . . This is considered almost holy work by farmers and ranchers. Kill off everything you can't eat. Kill off anything that eats what you eat. Kill off anything that doesn't feed what you eat."
"It is holy work, in Taker culture. The more competitors you destroy, the more humans you can bring into the world, and that makes it just about the holiest work there is. Once you exempt yourself from the law of limited competition, everything in the world except your food and the food of your food becomes an enemy to be exterminated."
gardening does not require fascism, but it does require relationship and attention.
I personally think that the attitudes to non-native plants are very similar to attitudes about immigrants that have surfaced periodically in US history: they carry disease, they have too many children, they don't follow our rules, they don't know how to behave (aggressive growers), they push in where they are not wanted, they displace natives/take the jobs of US citizens, etc.
I also agree that domesticated plants, such as garden veggies, do indeed require more care and even coddling compared to a wild plant, just as domesticated animals typically cannot fend for themselves. That's the whole domesticated thing in a nutshell. But it's not like we get nothing from these domesticated plants. We put in more work but get more edible and more tasty per plant, generally; otherwise, we wouldn't do it.
cultivation does not need to be a literal world-wide catastrophe; it can also be a pro-active human involvement in succession, and can allow us to take some part in rewilding the species we’ve domesticated and healing some of the ecological damage we’ve caused.
Ian M wrote:
As Jason Godesky writes in the article Ludi linked to (nice to have someone link to Anthropik before me for a change!):
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Oh wow, another Jason Godesky fan, I can't believe it!
The term "rewild" acts as a verb which implies an action, a motion. It does not symbolize point A (Civilized) or point B (Wild) but the space between. As a verb, it symbolizes a process of undoing domestication, not the endpoint. It may look like a woman breast-feeding her child. It may look like a group of people collecting wild edibles. It may look like someone turning off their TV for an hour a day. It may look like hanging out with your friends. It may look like refusing to pay rent or buy food. It may look like killing a deer for the first time, using a rifle. And it may look like using a bow & arrow. It may look like reading a book and changing the way you see Civilization. It may look like refusing to send your children to school. It may look like stealing from the cash register at your wage slave job. It may look like tearing up the streets with a sledge-hammer to plant crops. It may look like investing in "green" technology. It may look like taking down civilization. It may look like frustration at the current state of the world. Everyone has various comfort zones, social networks or friends who can show them things. Rewilding does not exist just for the small elite class of purists who band together and head for the woods to live a 100% primitive life. It serves as an umbrella term for all those who strive to undomesticate themselves, even if only in the smallest way they can.
The fruit trees of Mr. Fukuoka's orchard are not pruned low and wide for easy harvesting, but are allowed to grow into their distinctive natural shapes. Vegetables and herbs are grown on the orchard slopes with a minimum of soil preparation. During the spring, seeds of burdock, cabbage, radish, soybeans, mustard, turnips, carrots and other vegetables are mixed together and tossed out to germinate in an open area among the trees before one of the long spring rains. This sort of planting obviously would not work everywhere. It works well in Japan where there is a humid climate with rain dependably falling throughout the spring months. The texture of the soil of Mr. Fukuoka's orchard is clayey. The surface layer is rich in organic matter, friable, and retains water well. This is the result of the cover of weeds and clover that has grown in the orchard continuously for many years.
The weeds must be cut back when the vegetable seedlings are young, but once the vegetables have established themselves they are left to grow up with the natural ground cover. Some vegetables go unharvested, the seeds fall, and after one or two generations, they revert to the growing habits of their strong and slightly bitter-tasting wild predecessors. Many of these vegetables grow up completely untended. Once, not long after I came to Mr. Fukuoka's farm, I was walking through a remote section of the orchard and unexpectedly kicked something hard in the tall grass. Stooping to look more closely, I found a cucumber, and nearby I found a squash nestled among the clover.
Ivy is found in most types of woodland (21/25 types of Rodwell, 1991; Tansley, Br. Isl.; Ir. Pfl.), although it is characteristic of secondary rather than ancient wood- land (Rackham 1990) as it is a poor colonizer of existing woodland. [...]
Ivy tends to become established from seed in disturbed or more open habitat, and does not appear to compete strongly with established woodland ground flora spe- cies, though it can avoid shading effects by climbing [...]
Ivy grows most vigorously in shaded, moist sites on heavy, fertile soils, and where it occurs in woodland it is frequently dominant in the field layer. This behaviour makes it very invasive as an exotic (e.g. Thomas 1998; California Exotic Plant Pest Council 1999). Ivy’s aggressive and communal growth on trees has led to it being generally considered a forest weed (e.g. Horne 1952); Rackham (1990) notes that Theophrastus (372–287 ) thought that ivy kills the tree on which it grows though seemingly from little actual evidence. Vigorous foliar growth in the canopy of trees is usually restricted to moribund individuals, as healthy trees tend to have a sufficiently thick canopy to suppress growth of the fer- tile shoots of ivy, although ash (Fraxinus excelsior) may permit enough light to penetrate the canopy for even a healthy tree to be infested (Mitchell 1975). Weak trees may suffer from constriction by multiple ivy stems joining around the bole, and trees with luxuriant ivy growth in their canopies may be at an increased risk of wind throw. However, an unpublished experiment con- ducted by the late Mr Arthur Arnold near Wickham, Hampshire, between 1890 and 1942 suggested no effect of ivy on the height, average girth or cubic content of oak trees when half of the trees in a wood were kept clear of ivy, and the other half were permitted to sup- port extensive ivy growths. Similarly, no significant differences were found between growth rings of host and non-host trees in a French study (Trémolières et al. 1988). Ellenberg (1988) reports that ivy is fairly tolerant of different soils in France and north-west Germany, but that it becomes confined to more fertile oak– hornbeam forests further to the east.