The land around us is rich with meaning, tales to tell, and future possibilities. Our stewardship—the reciprocal care between ourselves, our families, soils, and plants—tells a story of who we are as humans, as communities, and our complex dependency on the more-than-human.
Growing Home is part of a bigger project called Distributed Agri–Culture which is currently capturing the processes and narratives of growing, sharing, and eating food together—in order to confront global issues around food. These practices and embodied knowledges translate across boundaries of culture and geography, but are at the same time local and particular.
Growing Home focuses on an area of social housing in Lakatamia, Nicosia, built to rehouse refugees from ‘the north’ after 1974. These estates or ‘sinikismos’ include large amounts of green space, both communal and private. The Cypriots that moved into these settlements came from towns and villages where they used their land to grow food for themselves and to subsidize family incomes. Today in the sinikismos, fruit trees including olive, lemon, and orange can be found in almost every garden. Through the physical act of ones hands in the soil, and the traditions of care, practices of nostalgia and memory are enacted.
Through mapping, interviews and ‘happenings’, Growing Home highlights the potential and importance of urban growing and our two-way relationship with the land.
During this Letters to Land workshop we walked around the estates collecting, foraging, drawing, mark making, and writing before gathering our findings and creations to have a dialogue about our personal and collective relationship to the land.
‘Soil which is the basis of growing and is apparently natural, is also the basis of territory and a potent symbol of the homeland. It appeals to a primordial sense of belonging and attachment, or rootedness.’ Anne Jepson