Ishtar’s International Network of Feral Gardens
April 2022 - October 2022
To become part of the network, and receive updates about upcoming events, please register using this form.
Fertile microcosms are embedded within our five bodily senses, their interstices, and our memories— bathed in sunlight, nourished by torrential downpours, flowering and lush. Imbricated in complex networks with the human and non-human, our bodies carry bountiful reserves of knowledge borne out of a connection with the earth. We bear imprints of the generations-long relationships that we have cultivated with the natural world. Ishtar, goddess of fertility, love, and justice, in her many forms is an expression of this ancient bond.
This summer, as we tend to our domestic and feral gardens, we will try to explore the entanglements that our sensing bodies form with plants, mycelia, microorganisms, and the many living forms which bring us into being. In the process, we will share the myriad cultural and embodied forms of knowledge that mediate these relationships. What can seeds teach us about sovereignty? What can foraging teach us about living and healing within extractive landscapes? How can the scent of roses evoke memories of migration and the emancipated spatial geographies of public gardens? Join us this summer as we feel our way through these questions.
Ishtar’s International Network of Feral Gardens is a playful, experimental, food sovereignty initiative dedicated to the cultivation of feral gardens with an international network of artists, cultural workers, botanists and food activists. This year, we will be offering stipends of $150 to 25 members of the network to subsidize the cost of gardening supplies. We will also be coordinating with local seed banks to assist participants in sourcing seeds. On May 14, the eve of the Milk Moon, we will be coming together for a planting event and seedling exchange. Over the summer months, we will be hosting and collaborating on a series of events and workshops that bring network participants together around sensing, flourishing and planting.
Launch Event – Ishtar Planting Day 2022
Sunday, May 15, 1-4pm
Chinatown Centre Courtyard (222 Spadina Ave)
On the eve of the Milk Moon, join SAVAC and the stewards of the Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden for the launch of Ishtar’s Network of Feral Gardens. We will be planting the garden outside the Chinatown Centre, and exchanging seedlings as an exercise in placemaking, reciprocity and collective sovereignty. You are encouraged to bring any seedlings, rooted cuttings or plants that you may want to donate to the garden and tools (shovels, spades, rakes) to plant with. Please bring direct-sow seeds and extra seedlings if you have them to exchange with other network members. If you’re unable to be with us physically, please join us in spirit by sowing your own garden.
This Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden was created as a community gathering space in 2019 to resist rapid gentrification and the closure of local businesses and community spaces in the area. This partnership deepens our collaboration with various Chinatown anti-gentrification initiatives, including the garden, since 2019. The act of tending to a garden together is one of the core tenets of Ishtar’s Network of Feral Gardens. Let’s immerse our bodies into the earth, sinking our hands into the soil, embedding deep roots into untapped aquifers, bringing forth abundance from what may have lain dormant and neglected. See you on the Milk Moon!
The futures of space will be community gardens— a commitment to show up and take care of life that will reflect that care right back to you.
– Hannia Cheng, The Futures of Space (2021)