Report from New London on growing support for autonomous garden in the city on land that has been left derelict after a corporate land grab through eminent domain had fallen through.
Since the publication of our story on IGD, this project has become literal front page news in New London. A day or so after publication, someone who admins local news / interest Facebook page Whale Tales Two, found the IGD article and shared it to their page. Surprisingly, an article that prominently displays the word “Anarchists” was received fairly well among the local population. Perhaps this is because enough folks are still annoyed at the local government about the destruction of an entire neighborhood and its complete abandonment after over 70 MILLION dollars wasted, but, either way, we were happy to see the positive response. Within a few hours of WT2 sharing the IGD article, we received a tip that the RCDA, the company who owns the land and is essentially the development arm of city government, had found out about our project and were not happy. Our name was removed from the sign at the corner of the lot and we were told that they planned to cut down the trees.
Immediately we began to reach out to everyone we could to try to mobilize a community response. Many locals, including WT2 put out posts against the cutting of the trees, and this ended up with a call from the local paper, The Day. One of our members agreed to a phone interview and the story made the front page. That is certainly not something we were expecting. We also had local media project Mieum Media reach out to us with a proposal for a video interview on the project. A member met the interviewer at the orchard where our medic was conveniently on site tending to the plants. That interview ended up as a video documentary featuring some of our remarks as well as an extended version where we answered various questions ranging from liability to legality to motivations.
Seeing that we had a decent amount of support from the community, and were getting more reach by the day, it seemed like we might be able to reach out to the community to do another round of planting. Today, August 8th, we met with about 7 locals and planted 20 trees. These were comprised of Apple, Plum, Beech, Oak, Pine, and Sarsaparilla trees. We also planted about a dozen berry plants including raspberries and strawberries as well as a few species of low growing groundcover foliage to replace the four foot tall weeds that dominate the landscape.
We were informed by a veteran activist that one of the cars that passed by was being driven by a representative of RCDA, but they did not stop to talk. Due to the delicate situation the orchard is currently in, identifying marks have been removed from the trees including tags, labels, or any signs that the trees were store bought. We are holding off on exposing the orchard visually to passers by and are relying on the tall weeds and the average persons ignorance of botany to keep from having the trees exact location discovered.
A reporter from The Day visited us to take pictures for a followup story and we apparently will be featured in tomorrow’s issue, so perhaps that is a good sign. As of now, the trees are alive, folks from the general public are starting to get involved, and its looking like this could be a very powerful example locally of the power of direct action. Wish us luck in the coming struggle.