Paris, December 2016

Actlab – Gardening and Philosophy

Philosophy and Gardening: a fruitful meeting

A wonderful winter sun, numerous participants coming from various horizons, elected officials, kids, the Bellastock and the « Imaginaire & Jardin » teams plus a philosopher supporting positive philosophy, the one who accompany the creative movement of an evolving society, fostered all together for a participative picnic, everything was assembled to make this event a warm moment of sharing.
Julie Benoit and Marie Pire provided a guided tour while Jean-Jacques Sarfati was making the link between the addressed notions to introduce a philosophical reflexion.

Gardening without organic soil

The first gardening work of Bellastock was to recreate living soil on top of an inert one, using Ramial Chipped Wood (RCW) obtained from the shredding of branch cuttings from public park and tree maintenance in and around Actlab area in order to provide a proper organic humus.
Indeed, Actlab’s garden is a gardening place with « the means at hand » especially « without organic soil » which aims to experiment and adapt every technics related to creating garden  with reused and repurposed materials as well as with natural dynamics like permaculture or composting.
In fact, this garden is participating to Actlab methodology, that promote reusing and repurposing materials. Here it concerns reusing and recovering organic materials, like soil and plants. A further aim is to foreshadow the future Île-Saint-Denis eco-district landscape.

Humility and humiliation

Jean Jacques Sarfati invited us to deepen the notion of humus and to enlarge it to two other derived concept sharing the same etymology : humility and humiliation.
“Humility holds fertile relationships in an open society, appeased and dynamic, where word and action are welcome, shared, confronted, questioned.”
“Humiliation, is too often the foundation of social relations and institutions. It leads to the closure of a society, which knows that it doesn’t answer anymore to the stakes of the society of tomorrow and prevents the speech or action of those who question it.”
There followed a debate on how to live these humiliations which take different forms, Including the choice between loneliness in the certainty of being right and
The dynamism of change in collective action.
The metaphor of the harvest and the abundance of plants that have grown within the “lasagna garden” (layered garden) created on site, opposed to the Lean plants that survive without help in the parts that stay arid, leads us to a nice discussion : What do we prefer? What do we stand for? The debate remained open.
The desire to warm up has brought us all back in the Actlab quarter build out of reused and repurposed materials by the Bellastock architects, where this philosophic talk continued around the major axes of the Bellastock missions presented by Julie Benoit.
A great opportunity also to discover the children’s photo exhibition made by Maelys Roger class from the Jean Lurçat primary school in the frame of the project named “Petit jardin, grand univers” (“Small garden, great universe”) Inscribed in the Imaginaire and Jardin program and accompanied by landscaper Marie Pire, the photographer Henri Taïb and the artist Soledad Garcia.
Once again, thank you to all those who have mobilized to make this event an invigorating moment.
Translated story based on Aline Matray text and report.

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