RED Garden Intro

It’s so hard to know how to start these
things, these things you’ve never really done before, especially for someone like me
who is a little bit introverted, to speak, in front of a camera to an unknown audience. As I don’t really know where to start, I
guess I’ll start with who I am and why I’m here. My name is Bruce Darrell. I was originally from Canada but have been
living in Ireland for the last couple of decades. I was trained as an architect, and I used
to work in the field of visual arts, producing CGI imagery, but I don’t do that any more. I’ve worked with an independent think tank
on the interrelated issues of food security, climate change, energy depletion, economic
systems and working on systems design in general. In ways I guess I am still am doing the same
thing, only in a different, more practical context. I have been helping to develop an ecovillage
project here in Cloughjordan, Ireland, where I’ve built our house and now live, work,
explore within the context of this wonderful and innovative community. More recently I’ve been spending a lot of
time in my vegetable gardens, growing food. And now, I am entering the strange new wold
of becoming a creator of videos about growing food. I don’t grow food as a hobby, or to improve
the health of my family or to get closer to nature, though these are all perfectly acceptable
reasons to have a vegetable garden. I grow food because I believe that it’s an
important thing to do right now. A number of years ago I started to understand
the relationships between the many of the problems in the world and our seriously flawed
food supply systems. I realised that changing our food systems
was essential in order to mitigate against climate Change, and adapt to Climate Change,
to deal with energy depletion and resource scarcity, to adequately manage waste, pollutions
and land degradation, in addressing poverty and corporate control, and fundamentally improving
the resilience of our lives and our communities. More specifically I came to believe that many
of these problems could be partially or substantially addressed by more people growing more of their
own food. This is why I am here. This is what I do now, and that is why I’ve
started a Youtube Channel. I realised a few years ago that I needed to
dramatically improve my skills, knowledge and ability in growing food, in growing vegetables. I needed to take it much more seriously, to
be more productive, to be more creative, to better understand the fascinating world of
being a grower. If the world needs more growers, then I felt
I really needed to try to be one. I took on the challenge of trying to skill
up, to try to educate myself. So, I bought a lot of books on the topics
of growing your own vegetables. I learned a lot, but also became quite confused
because many of the authors of these books were telling me to do different things. There was a lot of conflicting advice and
contradictory approaches. I had one book telling me that my main job
was to dig my garden beds as deeply and as thoroughly, and as a loosely as I could, incorporating
as much fertility as I could, in order to maximise the amount of productivity per square
meter. But another insisted that I shouldn’t be
digging at all, that I’d only mess things up, that I would destroy the beautiful strata
of soil that was created by a healthy soil ecosystem. This was just one of the many points of contention
and contradiction within the books that I read. I found myself trying to understand who was
right and who was wrong, because even though I understood the methodologies behind each
approach, they couldn’t all be right, or could they? I found that my limited experience growing
food wasn’t enough to be able to evaluate which method, which set of methods, was best
for me, my garden, or the climate of Ireland. So I decided to try them all out. And that was the genesis of the RED Gardens
Project. I have been working on this project for a
number of years, but this year I decided to do things differently. Firstly, I needed to take this project much
more seriously, to be more active. I also expanded the gardens, first there were
4, then 5 and now there are 6 small scale, family sized gardens, each one following a
different methodology, a different book. I have also started another significantly
larger growing project, which I’m calling the Black Plot, because I don’t really have
a better name for it yet. This new, intermediate scale garden is not
following a particular methodology or approach, as encapsulated in a book. It’s much more experimental, but much more
on that in later videos. Together, all of these gardens comprise what
I call the RED Gardens Project – RED stands for Research Education Development. This is an R+D project I see this project as part of a global movement
that is working to develop creative, appropriate and sustainable, resilient solutions to the
problems of how do we feed the world, how do we best feed ourselves? The final big step this year is starting a
YouTube channel. This will be the primary medium for sharing
this project with the outside world, for documenting what has succeeded and what has failed, for
posing questions, for speaking answers. And here I am, first video. I really didn’t intend this first video
of this YouTube channel to be so personal, but it seemed like the right thing to do. I’m going to be producing a lot more videos
in the near future, so if you like this sort of thing, please subscribe because I’d really
value engagement and feedback. In the near future I am going to launch a
crowd funding campaign to raise funds for the development of the Black Plot, so please
keep an eye out for that as I would really value your support. Finally, thanks for watching, I think this
is going to be really interesting!

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