ST JOSEPH MO –
A garden blooms in the heart of downtown St Joseph where a partially condemned parking garage sits on Felix between 8th and 9th streets. The top split-level tier has been out of service for over a decade with barricades blocking the ramps. The city has ignored the task force that formed in 2009 to address downtown parking and specifically this eyesore and it’s crumbling edifices are now covered in debris, broken glass and graffiti. It is just one of dozens (if not a hundred) vacant and unused buildings and homes across the city of St Joseph.
In a globalized city with international giants of industry at the heart of advanced capitalism, people are still allowed to die of starvation, malnutrition, basic illness and lack of permanent shelter. In the wealthiest country of the world, the most extreme forms of poverty persist unabated, while buildings that could be urban farms, social centers, living spaces, radical libraries, free schools or free medical and mental health clinics are kept off limits through the unending threat of the prison cell and the barrel of the gun.
Today, May 30th, 2014 the Stone Soup Garden have taken one very small step in our downtown neighborhood to combat the ruthless inequality of capitalist society. Instead of allowing the abandoned parking garage to continue as negated space wasting away, we have decided to make a garden to grow food and build community power through autonomous food security. In the garden, we will grow fresh vegetables that we will hand out for free.
The Stone Soup garden is just one part of our community garden project. This is only the beginning, as we encourage people to reclaim land in their neighborhoods for the benefit of their communities.
Why have a garden on an abandoned parking garage?
The simplest explanation is the most obvious. We’re turning dirt and seeds into food and a stronger community. The building’s current condition and the city’s deep reluctance to either renovate or raze the structure represents the systemic social dispossession necessary for global capitalism. The privatized and restricted status of the land today represents the exclusionary social practices required to make sure market exchange is the only medium for accessing the means of survival, political power, and cultural expression. Communities across the world, whether indigenous Brasilians or residents of St Joseph, are forcibly denied control of their surroundings, creating a global condition of social insecurity.
The city refuses to accept responsibility for this property, so it defaults to the commune of the people to create a new world in the shell of the old.
We invite you to join us. This is your garden. We are there each evening after 6pm at the Northwest corner of the top level at Felix Street between 8th and 9th.
Learn more about their project: http://stonesoupgarden.wordpress.com/