Radicle: a new gardening newsletter from @decolonisethegarden
Composting dominant systems. Seeking a future in which liberation is collective.
Having tentatively started this newsletter some months ago I’ve been sitting on it, wondering what I actually want to do with this space and where I hope to take it. I’ve had this idea brewing but have been holding off diving head first into it for various reasons. But I think the time for procrastinating is over. I just need to jump in and see how it goes… It’s not going to be polished. I will be figuring a lot of stuff out as we go but I hope you’ll come along in support.
I’d like to use this newsletter, and the community and momentum built by @decolonisethegarden, to platform garden writing from fresh perspectives. I hope to feature articles that reflect the richness of diversity, insight, passion and wisdom of everyone who gardens, or has an interest in plants, or is nurturing their connection with the natural world.
I will confess I’ve felt myself becoming a little jaded by traditional garden media over the past several years. Perhaps even pushing the past decade. This is not to disparage existing gardening media. I’m sure it’s more a reflection on me than anything else. When I first began gardening I used to lap it all up - magazines, books, blogs - I was so enthusiastic to learn everything I could and to drink it all in…. But I began to find myself switching off. Not least because it all started to feel a little same-y: the same kind of people writing about the same kind of things, rarely feeling as though it engaged me or was speaking to me.
I feel too that garden media often seems reluctant to tackle challenging social, climate, racial or environmental issues head on and when it does, it rarely seems to do so with very much teeth. I get it, there’s funding and advertisers and membership and committees and unaddressed systemic oppression to consider... I’ve been thinking a lot over the past year on how much we can truly expect established organisations to lead change, when the very structures they are built on remain the same. How do we expect new ways of doing when the old ways of thinking and being don’t shift? Maybe it’s time for something different.
I’m up for troubling the status quo and to provide a platform where gardeners of all types can bring their full and authentic selves and voices and not feel afraid to tackle meaningful issues - including social/political/justice issues.
I hope that this newsletter will provide gardeners and plants people, who aren’t always given the opportunity to have their voice heard, the space to tell us their stories and to give their perspectives on gardens, gardening and plants.
Plants, soil, land, food, health, people… the issues that gardening covers are inherently political. Horticulture is so rich with opportunity for opening up thought and engagement with so many issues, big and small. At such a pivotal juncture facing humanity in terms of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, the need for us to collectively shift the way we see and do things feels so urgent. It’s not the time to be shying away from tackling these issues. We need to grasp the nettle. I’m keen for something with a little more fire and spirit. Something more radical. Something that challenges as well as soothes and nourishes, uplifts and amplifies, and that celebrates connection, healing, joy and togetherness. I hope it will be thought-provoking and community-building. I feel there’s a shakeup that’s long overdue. The compost needs turning. Let’s get some air in here…
I don’t want to be too prescriptive about the articles that feature in this newsletter. Of course they will be gardening/horticulture related and of course there will be a strong justice, inclusivity and “decolonising” thread running throughout. But I don’t expect political issues and the subject of decoloniality to be written about explicitly each and every time. Nor do I want anyone writing here to feel they have to shy away from these subjects. So I have decided to move the name of the newsletter away from decolonisethegarden - although it will still be connected to the IG account. To make space for and to encapsulate the spirit of all of this, the newsletter has a new name: Radicle.
1 Botany. the embryonic root inside the seed. The primary root (radicle) is the first part of a seedling to emerge from the seed during the process of germination. It grows downward into the soil, anchoring the seedling and allowing it to take up water and send out its leaves so that it can begin to photosynthesise.
Call for pitches
If any of this speaks to you and you have a pitch for an article that you think might find a home at Radicle, please get in touch. It doesn’t matter if you have not been published before. I’d love to hear from you.
Please e-mail your pitches to me at: email@example.com
I want to be transparent about payment for writing. One of my motivations for starting this newsletter is, not only to platform the marginalised when it comes to gardening, but also to pay those who get published here. Each article will state whether the writer was paid (or whether the piece has been donated). To start with, payment will not be a huge amount and it will be coming out of my own pocket. I will be putting the money I have received for the bits of work I have done (writing and speaking) related to @decolonisethegarden over the past year into this newsletter.
I am also going to be turning on the paid subscriptions function for this newsletter. My hope is that we will build enough subscriptions to fund paying contributors going forward and also increase the fee they are paid to something comparable to what other websites pay.
I would like for this to become a 100% community-supported, reader-funded newsletter.
To all those who have previously asked me if they can help with a donation or to “buy a coffee” for the work I’ve put into @decolonisethegarden, this is a way in which you can contribute if you feel moved to. I would be so grateful for your support, subscriptions and shares.
Subscriptions will be £4 a month or £30 for a year.
(There is also still a free subscription plan. I haven’t yet decided which, if any, articles will be placed behind the paywall for paid subscribers only. This may happen in time.)
Your paid subscriptions will help to keep this newsletter and the work of @decolonisethegarden alive.
Thanks for reading all the way to the end if you’ve got this far. Please do share this and help spread the word. I hope to hear from some of you soon and look forward to reading your pitches!
Image: the green, Radicle logo of a germinating seed is from an original dry point etching by Sui Searle.