Seattle Times Pens Feature on ‘Guerilla Gardening’ Inside CHAZ: ‘This Is a Story of Reparations’

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A group of Antifa and other anarchists who have taken over several city blocks in Seattle, barricading streets and making demands that include abolishing the police department, is being reported on by local media in glowing terms.

The occupied area includes a park, which is also being taken over by the people inside the zone, and the Seattle Times penned a feature about the “guerilla gardening” as part of a “new communal effort:”

In a grassy area of Cal Anderson park, circles the city mowed to encourage social distancing among visitors have now become community gardens. Tomatoes, herbs and lavender sprout from newly laid soil. The plant starts, like so much else in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, were donated to the new communal effort.

“We’re forced to build new plots because people are giving us so many plants,” said Marcus Henderson, one of a group of people who showed up to the park with the same idea and worked together to create the new gardens. As night was falling Thursday, the gardeners unrolled chicken wire and poured from watering cans. Using no-till methods, they hope to avoid hitting pipes or anything else that may lie beneath the city park.

Like other acts of “guerilla gardening,” the group is “trying to rethink public spaces into places that also nourish us,” Henderson said.

The Times reporter wrote tha, despite a “festival-like atmosphere,” the occupiers “remind each other” that the takeover started as a protest against “police violence” and “systemic racism.” The Seattle takeover started as part of nationwide protests and riots after the death of a black man, George Floyd, as the hands of Minneapolis police.

“The real reason I’m inspired by gardening and farming is because it connects us to the land,” Henderson said. “This is a story of reparations.”

Henderson, who is just identified as one of the group, said those reparations are to make up for white people taking land from black people.

“We managed to scrounge up some money and buy some land, started building communities and they burned it down and then created economic structures that supported white farmers,” Henderson said. “If you really get down to it, it’s all been a fight for the land.”

Henderson said if the group occupies the land long enough for the gardens to bear fruit, it will be donated.

“I hope it makes it to that point and the city doesn’t come in and tell us this is a nuisance or that we’re vandalizing this land because I think we’re actually bringing value to this land,” Henderson said.

“We were able to tell the police to leave,” Henderson said. “Maybe we can get to the point where we can challenge the Parks and Recreation to put some of those funds they’re taking away from police into getting people who can actually manage the land.”

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