1101 Williamson St.  Madison, WI
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Art Archive - 2010

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Show Dates: 2010-02-01 - 2010-02-28
Title: Sprouting Artists at Drumlin Gardens
Artist: Drumlin Farm Artivists
Unlike other art shows featuring the work of one or two artists, our show highlights the grassroots efforts of citizens using art as a medium for change and transformation of our society. The underlying belief of this art opening is that everyone can contribute art to our movements for urban agriculture and food sovereignty. The show was curated by two local artivists who have promoted Drumlin Community Gardens through art, discussion, and planting seeds (of love) into the ground upon which the gardens slumber, for the moment, due to Winter. But just as the Situationists of the 1960's exclaimed "beneath the pavement lies the beach," so too it can be said that "beneath the snow lies the garden." The artists featured in this show are neighbors participating in Drumlin Community Gardens, activists from Madison's east side, a local folk musician, journalists, photographers, painters, and students at the University of Wisconsin and MATC.

The spirit of Drumlin Community Gardens has been one of creating an island of cooperation, mutual aid, and solidarity in a sea of capitalism that promotes dependency on corporations, competition, and isolation amongst individuals. At Drumlin, neighbors from a one-mile radius have been organizing to grow their own food while enjoying each others' company and learning strategies for creating dignified work in a capitalist system that often works against them. Better yet, this creative synergy at Drumlin has helped bridge the gap between rural and urban, and between farmer and eater, by showing another world is possible in our community.

Unlike other urban gardening projects, the land at Drumlin has never been built upon by a corporation, the city, or any other interested party. Instead, it has been cultivated for vegetables, herbs, and fruit for over one hundred years. As a result, the soil is rich in nutrients and has the right balance for continuing to grow food for years to come. The land has been used for community supported agriculture, a farming cooperative, and more recently, a community garden. Since 2006, neighbors and friends have been invited to tend their own personal plots on the land and grow their own food. In addition, land-based celebrations have been organized and enjoyed by the community, thereby putting the "culture" back into agriculture, providing a fun, safe environment for families in the neighborhood.

In 2006, The Alexander Company purchased the land from the Ickes, a local family that made its fortune from real estate, beginning the current threat. Ever since then, the Alexander Company has stated its intention to commercially develop the land, either by putting a hotel and parking lot where the gardens are, or some other large commercial building.

The residents of the two farm houses on the land resisted their eviction when the notice came in January 2009 that they had to leave their homes by February 1st. Instead of leaving, they stayed and fought a legal battle with the company for long enough to preserve the gardens for one more season. By September of 2009, however, lawyer's fees and other potential costs of the legal battle led the residents to settle out of court and finally vacate the two farm houses.

Currently, the Madison Community Co-operatives, MCC, is interested in purchasing the land from the Alexander Company, along with the two houses, and continuing the long-standing tradition of agricultural use for and by the people. It is unclear if that purchase will take place and there is still much work to be done to get the word out about this struggle and to secure the land. If you would like to learn more or get involved with the folks organizing to save Drumlin Community Gardens, please consider joining Friends of Drumlin, a grassroots group that meets every other week at the Madison Infoshop, 1019 Williamson Street. Call 262-9036 for more information.

~ We are all eaters, we are all gardeners ~

~ We are all art appreciators, we are all artists ~

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