Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Anne reports back from the Bonnaroo Victory Garden


Thanks so much to HOMEGROWNer and Friend of Farm Aid Anne Bedarf for being the correspondent at Bonnaroo 2010. Sounds like y’all had a blast! Also worth checking out: NPR’s Live from Bonnaroo podcasts.

The Victory Garden, planned by Sarah Bush of Edible Revolution and her team (including me), was a success!   Located in Planet Roo surrounded by the solar stage and a slew of amazing non-profits, the garden was the educational hub for all things local food. We put in about half of the garden before a massive thunderstorm Wednesday and were pleasantly surprised on Thursday how the compost held moisture yet had great drainage!
The garden is made from compost from the onsite piles that include 08 and 09 waste.  There are semi-composted forks that we used as nice garden art–a good reminder of our quest to expand “garden to fork” in our homes and communities.  We planted demonstrations gardens to include a three sisters garden, where squash and beans trail up corn stalks and the plants support each other.  Many of the herbs from the previous year returned!

As the garden and demonstration area was completed Thursday and the masses arrived, lots of people expressed interest in the seed exchange and how to start a garden.  The various daily gardening workshops drew on average 25 people and students interested in learning how to garden and build community gardens.


Rock the Earth’s Green Screens showed the movie, Good Food, about the sustainable food and farming movement in the Northwest (  Anne & Sarah did a Q&A afterwards focusing on organics and growing your own food.

The family that lives nearly and used to own the Bonnaroo land, the McAllisters, stopped by and brought some seeds near and dear to them.
Sit-down local food dinners were held both Friday and Saturday night.

Ben & Jerry’s provided samples of the new flavor “Bonnaroo Buzz”, and led a promotional drive through the Bonnaroo Post Office in support of HR 3225, the Community Gardens Act, which will work toward making federal grants available to “build and operate sustainable community gardens NOW.”

Conan O’Brien even sung about local food:  his song “Polk Salad” was a bittersweet memory of eating Pokeweed–only rendered edible after being “thrice boiled.”

One overall observation is that the majority of people who came to the garden were just starting out, and were excited to get pointers on how to start gardening.  Reasons ranged from wanting better tasting food, to replicating parents’ favorite gardens, to pursuing self-sufficiency while supporting community.

The incredible support and interest of the Bonnaroo staff, as well as artists and fans, was evident and we look forward to expanding the program next year as part of this incredible festival!

Update: We’ve been alerted to the Bonnaroo Seedsavers – “a community of seed activists that interact in the digital realm throughout the course of the year, and convene each June for the Bonnaroo Seed Exchange.” Check them out!

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One Response to “Anne reports back from the Bonnaroo Victory Garden”

  1. Great article, Anne. The Victory Garden is just a little sprout, and already it’s fantastic. I predict a thriving garden scene in the years to come at Bonnaroo.

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