Issue #7: POWER
Well, this could be a big one. Power is one of those tricky words. It can mean wonderful things, it can mean hell. Egomaniacal individuals usually mess it up when they get a taste for it. But lots of people, empowered, can be a beautiful thing.
One of the main reasons I wanted to create The Planthunter was to encourage people to engage with plants, on all levels, not just in the garden. With engagement comes power. Power to change the way we look at the natural world, and power to do something about it. We interact with plants on a daily basis. We eat them, we live in houses made from them, we write on them, we burn them to fuel our cities. Disconnecting ourselves from them is not a great idea. In fact, I reckon its one of the most dangerous things we can possibly do.
I read Michael Pollan’s book Cooked recently. One of the things that stuck out to me was the idea that as individuals become specialists, rather than generalists, we end up handing the power to support ourselves in a very practical sense to others.
The tasks we palm off such as cooking, growing, making, and fixing are often hugely important to our continued existence on a practical (and spiritual) level, but somehow they have become specialised. We feel like we can’t do them properly, and anyway, who has the time? So we pay other people to support us. We are handing power to corporations and individuals who may not have our best interests in mind.
Growing and cooking food is an obvious example of this. Somehow we have become disconnected from our food. We don’t have the knowledge, time, or space to grow it. And cooking?! Well. That happens on television now, not in the kitchen. Eating is the primary way we engage with plants. Three (or more, if you’re me) times a day, every single day of your life. That’s a lot of plants, and a lot of power to be thrown around willy nilly.
I understand that this talk of empowering ourselves through engaging with plants may seem a little trite. Sure, it’s pretty simple. And it’s by no means the only way of caring for our planet. It’s just one of many seeds. This seed, given enough goodness, will grow and flourish into a tall, strong, tree; joining a forest of many species, evolving in many different ways. This forest will grow to become a collection of empowered, passionate people who realise the importance of the protection and nurturing of the natural world to our continued existence. This consciousness shift can begin with plants. It’s that simple. Power to the people who plant!
Ramble over. Now, this month we have some brilliant content. I know I say the same thing every month, but it’s true. I am constantly astounded by the amazing stories that keep rolling in. We have a beautiful photo essay on plants as amulets, power food recipes, an interview with a botanophobe, artists, poetry playlists, powerful gardens, industrial agriculture and the powers of psychedelic plants and Amazonian shamans. Phew! Its big, varied, and (hopefully) powerful.
The images accompanying this little intro are from Versailles, the most obvious example of power and gardens I can think of. There will be more pics and words on this particular garden later in the month.
Oh also, The Planthunter and The Design Files have just launched a new garden collaboration! Every month we will feature a garden story written by me, and photographed by The Design Files on both websites. It is beyond exciting, and gives me plenty of hope that and plant love is spreading far and wide, and into realms it may not once have been associated with. Go plants go!