Posts tagged ‘Iraq’

What’s a Green Zone?

2 july

Green Zone is an organic vegetable, herb, and flower garden planted in the detritus of wartime consumption: used tires, shopping bags, shoes, and other repurposed containers. The plants are leafy (herbs, kale, beet greens, lettuce), vines (gourds, beans), or develop fruit underground (radishes, turnips); most flowers are edible. Six of the tires were pulled out of the Woonasquatucket River during the Earth Day cleanup in April 2008.

In Baghdad, the Green Zone is a fortified government district that contains the villas, palaces, and monuments of Iraq’s former regime and now serves as headquarters for the US occupation authority. Its parklike environment is surrounded by concrete blast walls, chain-link fences, earth berms, barbed wire, and armed checkpoints.

Gardens are also Green Zones. They are defined spaces of green refuge within larger, different, and sometimes inhospitable settings, whether environmental (like brownfields, deserts, or vacant lots) or temporal (like wartime or winter).

America has a long tradition linking gardens on the homefront to wartime conservation. Pop culture and political propaganda from World War I and World War II urged Americans to grow their own food in War Gardens and Victory Gardens. On the other hand, after September 11 and throughout six years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Uncle Sam directs us to consume, not conserve. The message persists in 2008 via IRS stimulus checks, despite worldwide food shortages and record-high food prices.

Green Zone grows all summer long. Firehouse 13 residents share its produce. Special thanks to Southside Community Land Trust for starting many plants from seed.

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July 3, 2008 at 12:56 am 2 comments


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