May 9, 2010

grow memphis

Since March I’ve been volunteering with Grow Memphis, a non-profit that helps people facilitate community gardens.  Over the course of the spring,  a small group met at the greenhouse at the city’s public works facility by Overton Park.  We planted everything from basil seeds to squash seeds in a potting mix made from compost, sand and peat moss.  Last week the greenhouse phase ended and hundreds of starter plants were given away to gardens all over the city or sold at the plant sale.  

Gardening influences my studio practice in ways far beyond the visual.  I can grow a flower with no problem, but I haven’t had much luck with vegetables.   So working with Grow Memphis is about staring something I’m completely intimidated by squarely in the eye.  That stare down is something I have to do in the studio time and time again.  Like in the studio, though, breaking down the process rids the fear. 

Last week I helped Josephine Williams, Grow Memphis coordinator, pick arugula for the farmers market.  Filling a few buckets full of greens was as satisfying as making a good mark or mixing a clever color.  At that moment it was all connected. 

Here's Josephine.  I agree with the hat.  


  1. Heavenly indeed. I love the way greenhouses smell. One day I'd like to have a small one of my own.