Resistance Garden: Recap of Wild Plants from Sovereign Lands Walking Tours
By Amalia Colón-Nava, Resistance Garden Project Manager
We began with a chilly, late March, foraging walk through FDR’s meadows. A piece of land that has reverted to a marshy ecosystem largely undisturbed by development. That space is under threat of being turned into soccer fields, which Lady Danni pointed out about halfway through the tour, in an area where you can see the construction site in stark contrast to the wildlife, separated by a fence.
Next, we visited One Art Community Center in West Philadelphia, where we were met with a torrential downpour that did not stop Lady Danni from telling us about many uses of Mugwort. Afterwards, we cozied up indoors while Trinity Norwood spoke about her experience as a member of the Lenape Nation. We engaged in a conversation about the complexities of identity and bureaucracies of recognizing tribes and tribal members.
Third, we visited Norris Square Neighborhood Project in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. We heard from Iris Brown about the founding of the space and its importance to the neighborhood.
Fourth, we visited Philly Forest’s space at Awbury Arboretum located in Germantown, Philadelphia. It was another gray and rainy day. A small but mighty group of us heard more tales of dandelions and wrote about and discussed our own relationship to plants in a workshop led by Bitter Kalli, writer and farmer of Star Apple Farm.
For the fifth tour we traveled back to northeast Philadelphia to visit Urban Creators. The tour began with Elizabeth Okero telling us about the cultivated plants being farmed in their space. After, Lady Danni informed us about the dangers of poison hemlock as we were led through the back gate into the tree park at the corner of 11th and York, which is also cared for by the farm.
The final tour ended with Iglesias Garden, which is a space that deeply reflects a cultivation of wild foods. Most of the plants that make up this garden space were collected – foraged from around the city, dug up and planted in this lot, and are not often viewed as edible plants. Meg Lemieur spoke about her research of the oil industry and mining of natural gasses and how that impacts our future.
The tour ended on a hopeful note of acknowledging our work as stewards of the land with many people lingering to talk to each other and enjoy a warm and rainy spring day in the garden.