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Lu Emm's Fundraiser:

The Freemason Free Garden

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BENEFITING:

Lu Emm

THE STORY:

Howdy! We are collective of anarchists, activists, workers, mycologists, and gardeners. For the past decade, we've been working to redistribute food, medicine, and clothing to the working class through the platform of Food Not Bombs. On top of that, in the past few months, we've been working to retake a plot of land in the city with native and edible plants. In just over a month, we've accomplished so much! Pooling our money and labor together, we've constructed three 6x6' raised garden beds, two A-frame beds, and one 8x6' raised garden bed. These are filled to the brim with 30+ tomato plants, dozens of pepper plants, chamomile, cucumbers, watermelons, cantelopes, kale, strawberries, collard greens, chard, basil, and more! We've also created a roughly 8x8' winecap mushroom bed which, when mature, will aid in the production of the vegetable and fruit crops. We built a large wire mesh compost enclosure where the whole neighborhood can sustainably dispose of their organic waste. Finally, we have begun rewilding and increasing the biodiversity of the ecosystem by planting native pollinator plants, groundcovers, remediative plants, and beautiful flowers! We've done all this using almost completely recycled or recyclable materials and zero plastic. All of this amounts to roughly $700's worth of supplies and roughly $1,400's worth of labor. And we only just got started! The garden is already producing food that we regularly give out to the community - we've done so much, but we still have big dreams ahead, and to make it happen we need your help. Our vision is for our little spot on Bute St to not only be a garden, but to be a point of convergence, remediation, distribution, and education. Convergence: Our biggest and most daunting goal is to buy the lot, so we as a community have long-term security that the space can't be yanked away by a technicality or a rent hike. We host regular garden work days all day every Saturday, which we will slowly transition into being community pot lucks -- with music, free food from the garden, and educational material. There is a large blank wall on the left side of the wall where we would like to paint a beautiful, inviting mural that depicts the purpose and spirit of the garden. In the future, we would love to project documentaries and educational films on to the wall for picnic-style neighborhood movie nights. Remediation: Though we've started planting native wildflowers and soil-builders, there's still a lot left to be done. We would like to test the soil of the lot for heavy metals and toxicity, and once we know exactly what we're dealing with, initiate a comprehensive effort to remediate (or clean) the soil using plants and mushrooms. We are already growing hyperaccumulative sunflowers (like the ones used to remediate Chernobyl!), and we hope to soon be growing famously powerful pearl oyster mushrooms soon. Besides this, the explosion of diversity and water-soaking life in the lot helps significantly with flood prevention -- which, if you've ever been in downtown Norfolk during a heavy rain, is a dire necessity in the area. We would like to purchase or build a rain barrel or two, which will not only help with flooding, but also will be a reliable source of water for the thirstier garden beds in times of drought. Distribution: We want to install three waterproof pantries -- one for our free non-perishable food and over-the-counter medicine supply, one for our free clothing supply, and one for our little, free radical lending library. These will be open and available to the public 24/7, to take what you need and leave what you can. On Saturday's, our regular garden-work days, we would like to set out tables of free produce harvested from the garden, along with educational literature about sustainable farming in the city and the connection between radical politics and food sovereignty. Education: Besides the free books in our library, we also plan to seed the entire garden with plaques and signs explaining why each plant is in its proper place. We want to share more than just the conventional utility and taxonomy of the plants in the garden -- we also want to share their politics and history: what they were called by the indigenous tribes that once lived free in this land, how we've come to know their medicinal and edible properties, and who we have to thank for their ancient wisdom. Besides pamphlets, signs, and books, we would also like to host permaculture/mycology classes and workshops in the garden. We recognize that our food and medicine grow out of the spilled blood and decomposing bones of colonized people, witches, and bruxas. Here, we will tell their stories with detail and reverent gratitude. In all, we want to create a multi-pronged revolutionary space controlled by the people and for the people. We have already built a consistent and reliable platform for free resource production and distribution, and our hope is to use this little slice of land as a staging ground for anarchism in action. If you have questions, or would like to see an itemized budget of our expenses, shoot us a message at freemasonfreegarden@gmail.com. If you want to see more photos and stories of our work so far, check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1196171770491463/.

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Lu is working on selecting a charity so you can support The Freemason Free Garden.