THANK YOU! Year end, project end.

Dana, Ruth & friends at Cascadia, Laura, Nick, Eliza, Melanie, Sharon & friends at Mole Hill, Shirley, Margaret, Stella, Ginger, Elizabeth(s), Cyndy, Jessie, Kristina, Jaimie, Heidi, Jill….
and many more who participated at the events (Stone Soup Festival, Vancouver Art Gallery Family Fuse, Means of Production Community Garden Tea Parties).

Thank you to all of the participants in Garden Gnomad’s wanderings during 2009. Visiting your beautiful gardens and hearing your thoughts and ideas about community gardening in the city was meaningful for me. It formed my work and ideas for the year. I am grateful for your generosity.

Garden Gnomad was exhibited at the Surrey Art Gallery’s E-Mixer night, during the Interactive Futures conference in November. On January 3, 2010 (7-10) it will also be featured at a one-evening exhibition at Hammock Residency

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Garden Gnomad at EMixer, November 18 2009

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Tartan & Tweed – Tea Party! Tours! Podcasts!

Tartan & Tweed Tea Party Poster

Tartan & Tweed Tea Party Poster

GARDEN GNOMAD will be at MOPARRC’s Tartan & Tweed Tea Party with an audio and image work that winds-up this summer’s wanderings in community gardens far and wide. Download the audio files to your own listening device to hear as you wander through the garden during the tea party. Or, just bring yourself –I will have extra headsets for visitors to borrow.

The Tartan & Tweed Tea Party is the final event of MOPARRC’s summer residency at Means of Production Community Garden. It will present some of the work that has emerged from the artists’ residency during the past year. Lori Weidenhammer, Lois Klassen and Sharon Kallis have used the garden as a material resource; as a place to meet the community for collaborative work; and as a site to consider community agriculture in the urban environment.

MOPARRC presents-
Tartan & Tweed Tea Party at Means of Production Community  Garden
Sunday September 13, 1-4pm
North  China Creek  Park: Corner of St Catherines Street and East 6th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

Celebrate the Harvest Moon; join us for finger food and wild-crafted tea. Suggested Party Attire: “plaid, tartan and tweed.” The last of three tea parties planned for the season, the Tartan & Tweed Tea Party will feature on-site artworks by Sharon Kallis of community-made artwork using materials grown on site during a year-long artist in residence.

Lori Weidenhammer will give tours of the MOP Bee Garden and discuss some of the reasons she and co-designer Jean Kindratsky chose to grow certain plant varieties. Weather permitting, (and hive permitting) Weidenhammer will also give you the opportunity to try out her solar powered sonic therapy chair.

Garden Gnomad PodcastsLois Klassen’s summer-long Garden Gnomad Project presents a series of short audio works to guide visitors to hidden secrets in the Means of Production Garden. Bring your iPod, portable CD player, transistor (there will be some available to borrow) and load up podcasts from the solar-powered Garden Gnomad machine. Download the podcast ahead of time by following instructions posted here:

Performances by:
The Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra
and special guest Gnomie

Note: Uneven terrain.  Proper foot wear recommended; children must be supervised.

For more information about the garden events, and to be placed on an e-mail listing for MOP garden events, email Or visit

Media can call Sharon Kallis at 604-215-9501

Project partners: Environmental Youth Alliance, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation,  Community Arts Council of Vancouver

Project Funders: The Mount Pleasant Community Association, Canada Council for the Arts, Vancouver Office of Cultural Affairs.

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we are stardust we are golden

and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Woodstock began 40 years ago yesterday… Joni Mitchel wasn’t there, but she wrote the song of longing that became one of its most enduring legacies. As I sift through the outcomes of the ‘field work’ that I had the pleasure of collecting this warm summer, I am hearing a similar song of longing, and languishing, of gardeners for small plots of utopia. The dialogue with urban gardeners seems to point me toward looking at the relationship of city dwellers with growing things.


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Solar-Powered Summer Events


The Garden Gnomad has been set up as a solar-powered garden photo booth at a few events this summer: Mount Pleasant Community Centre’s Earth Day Celebration (April 18), The Britannia Centre’s Stone Soup Festival (May 9), Family Fuse at the Vancouver Art Gallery (June 13) the MOPARRC Artist Tea Party at the Means of Production Garden (June 21).

At each of these events, I offered to combine photos of the participants with photos from gardens that I had visited since beginning this project in spring, and then printed them on the spot as postcards to take away… Garden Gnomad Postcard Album shows a few of those candid photos.

The events have given me a chance to talk about the various approaches to community agriculture that I have seen, as well as to play with this awkward, recycled, low impact ‘garden machine’.

Weather permitting, Garden Gnomad will be taking photos and recording conversations at the Means of Production Community Garden on the next three Wednesdays from 10am-12pm (July 8, 15, 22). Please stop by!

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Holiday reading

Done well, a garden is a poem, and the old lesson of gardening is the same as poetry: what is not there is just as important as what is…. What have I thought about gardens? What advice do i have? Only this: Gardens are metaphors for who we were, are and will be. Patrick Lane There is a Season (2004, McClelland & Stewart Ltd.)

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Stone Soup Postcards

I enjoyed some lovely conversations with growers and eaters at the Stone Soup Festival on the Britannia Centre grounds near Commercial Drive in East Vancouver yesterday. Garden Gnomad emphasizes dialogue without much structure. There are of course themes emerging:

– emergence!: people are starting gardens (of course, it is spring). Many people tell me that they are gardening for the first time; or they are planning to start gardening; or they know of someone who is gardening in a unique or experimental way and they want to tell me about it. Urban gardening seems like an emergent activity that is of interest to many (maybe MOST!) urban dwellers.

– People are facing gardening to solve what they see as unacceptable food issues: poor quality, high priced, poor selection. They worry about the pollution created by food distribution to urban areas… and many other issues concerning food security.

– As new gardeners, people’s knowledge about growing food and making gardens is uneven. People are eager to share information but their answers are contradictory. This is kind of fun because it makes people talk to each other more, and argue and think and go back on line to find answers or go to places like ‘City Farmer’ to ask people with more experience.

– The machine in the garden is awkward but still a curiosity. Those who are savy sees it as an awkward, though free, tool that could be replaced by a pocket sized iphone. Those who know little about computers appreciate hearing that they could put together this machinery for free by putting in some hours at Free Geek. They like hearing about open source software and seeing how easy  to manage solar power has become.

– I hear a lot about other mobile interfaces with gardening. Of course, this is the city and everything in the city is on the move. Here is a report of a rooftop community garden that required a bicycle: YWCA’s rooftop garden

I have loaded a pile of postcards that have resulted from my first garden visits and the two public appearances of Garden Gnomad at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre’s Earth Day and Britannia Centre’s Stone Soup Festival in the Garden Gnomad Postcard Album.


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