guerrilla Dama

guerrilla Hagen
Forfatter: Kari Gåsvatn
Forlag: Flux Forlag
FOOD IN THE GARDEN / A new book claims that by cultivating the soil around you, on a slope, in a backyard or in a flower box, you become a more conscious consumer. These are the first steps towards a sustainable food future.


- Here, take more! Before I can say no, doña Sebastiana jam has filled up yet another serving of tasty vegetable and chicken soup. I look out over her towering kitchen garden up in Pueblo Nuevo, north of Nicaragua. She runs agro-ecologically, in keeping with nature. As long as you play with nature, there is no food shortage in poor countries.

I remember this visit to shabby Nicaragua and an old guerrilla lady when I, many years later, sit with a fresh book in my hands that is just devoted to tasty, local and sustainable food, and agriculture. It is written by a nestor in Avis-Norway, the Nation's longtime columnist Kari Gåsvatn. Now she strikes with a genuine contribution to the debate on agriculture, food production, belonging and sustainability. She herself has become a "guerrilla farmer" – she grows where she can. At the same time, she hurts thoughts. With me she reaps reflection.

The big questions

What is healthy for the Earth, for nature, for the cycle, for the local community and for democracy? Through 15 chapters and 270 pages, Gåsvatn argues that food must be more local. Then we taste local variations and seasons, and we can withstand international crises. Urban gardens are part of the readiness when we grow edible plants.

This may sound well-spoken, and suitably assertive. But Gåsvatn coats his assumptions and claims with facts. She asks, digs and investigates through meetings with local activists and researchers.

The small farmer carrying the globe on his shoulders is one of the essence of
Goose water's book.

Guerrilla gardeners are part of a larger movement growing in the cities, in balconies, colonial gardens, parcel gardens, roof gardens and pallets. Across Europe, "edible cities" and neighborhoods are established with a joint cultivation project. Cooperative is "in". I was part of such a thing myself for three years. It was nice and nice to sink their own vegetables and to contribute a little work. And I totally agree with Gåsvatn in her observation: What is cheap is easy to throw. Nobody throws home-grown food. Taste it.

Something is going on

The new cultivation movement can be interpreted as an attempt to get a little closer to food and nature. A guerrilla garden thus becomes part of a democracy project, a self-cultivated beetroot becomes a political statement. What looks like diversity in the store is simplicity and monoculture in the fields, in barns and in farms.

But something is going on. Goose water has for many years commuted between Norway and Germany and followed the food debates on the continent. Today you can follow in Germany from pig online. It gets slaughtered when many people sign up. [Some farmers in Norway have also started similar animal ownership, ed. Note] In the United States, "cowpooling" exists, shares in a cow and its milk. We become locals, so-called locavores. Goose water becomes the Norwegian response to American food guru Michael Pollan.

Agriculture stands at a time difference, according to Gåsvatn. We rationalize, consume and discard. Industrial agriculture cannot feed the world. We need other stories and other ways to eat. The heroes in Gåsvatn's story therefore become the peasant, both in the south and in the north. Such as doña Sebastiana.

Application and carbon storage

Goose water is hitting hard on international food giants and seed companies – not least their use of glyphosate (RoundUp) and other pesticides. She points to increased cancer risk and international litigation. Gåsvatn believes that the combination of new research and popular commitment can move the public debate. And the engagement can start in your local little garden or flower box, she says.

Goose water also swings the whip against domestic agricultural policy. Growth fetishism forces small farmers to sell. The big ones have to rent more land to run profitable volume production, land near the city is being demolished, and the one who is far away is growing again.

In one of the book's most interesting chapters, Gåsvatn strikes a battle for regenerative agriculture that takes care of soils and humus. When cows are grazing more, carbon bonds, while the soil becomes more fertile.

According to Gåsvatn, it is not the cow itself that is the problem, but what function it has in the ecosystem. The soil under grassland stores up to 50 percent more carbon than under forest. Grazing animals give the grass a growth boost.

A "grand old lady".

The small farmer who carries the globe on his shoulders is part of the essence of Gåsvatn's book. I agree, having visited small farmers on all continents. Doña Sebastiana in Nicaragua grows legumes that provide nitrogen in the soil, so she doesn't have to buy expensive fertilizers. As a weapon for pests, she uses a mixture of lemon and chilli mixed with water that settles for a few days, so she does not have to buy toxic pesticides. Trees provide shade to the food plants, and the various crops come together in one whole system.

Some of what Gjsvatn claims is controversial, and in some cases I disagree with her. But it is immaterial. The book is important. She has managed to create a great and holistic story that inspires. And moralism, she stays far away.

She is a "grand old lady" and a tough guerrilla lady.

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