Gardens that Free Us: Urban Gardening, Sustainability, and Healing

Featuring Jamie Bruno, Michaeline Picaro, and Tobias Fox
Moderated by Alexandra Chang, Price Institute

July 1, 2020, Wednesday 4:00 PM- 5:30 PM EST
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The global pandemic has acerbated long-existing inequities in terms of land use, food, and health now only intensified by large-scale failures in supply chains leading to food scarcity. Community and urban gardens provide possibilities of local action and have been at the heart of an urban agriculture movement in Newark tied closely to pushing forward a larger picture of more equitable futures through whole systems approaches based on sustainability. Join us as we talk with artist and advocate Jamie Bruno; healer, artist, and member of the Turtle Clan of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation Michaeline Picaro; and Founder and Managing Director of Newark Science and Sustainability Inc Tobias Fox as they discuss how urban and community gardens can free us and provide a new way to look at how we approach our Post-Covid future now.

Bruno shares about her arts practice and advocacy in terms of rethinking our economies of exchange through urban farming and policy. Picaro will talk about a new community garden initiative in Northern New Jersey and also engage us to think about health in terms of plants, healing, and spirituality as well as our long histories related to food and wellness. Founder and Managing Director of Newark Science and Sustainability Inc. Tobias Fox discusses the enmeshed ties of renewable energies, food, and self-sustaining communities in Newark.


Gardens that Free Us Flyer


About the Speakers: 

Jamie Bruno is an artist and food/environmental justice advocate. Jamie’s artwork is multidisciplinary, with a focus on environmental art and installation. Over the past two years she has championed the necessity to include accessible pathways for micro and small volume composting in NJ, at community gardens and urban farms. In 2017 she co-founded nonprofit Urban Agriculture Cooperative to support the development and resilience of urban environmental practice and to help create a more resilience and sovereignty within Newark’s foodshed. Jamie has engaged in residencies with the Newark Print Shop, Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, under a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and Space Beam in Incheon, South Korea. Jamie lives, works, and gardens in Newark, NJ.

Michaeline Picaro is a member of the Turtle Clan of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation and has recently organized a new community garden space in Northern New Jersey with her community. She is a mother, artist, nurse, and healer. Her concern for the effects of industry and the depletion of farming fields on the environment has forwarded her interest in plants in terms of whole systems approaches to community farming as well as holistic health, wellness, and spiritual connectivity. Picaro’s nursing, holistic/energy healing, and art backgrounds have allowed her to experience different modes of thinking in terms of healing and education and encouraged her continuing journey with natural medicine for healing and food foraging. Her work stems from early native medicinal teachings from her father combined with spiritual teachings from being and sitting with nature at an early age. These teachings became a way of life, including the daily connection of listening, watching and practice of all that Mother Earth teaches.


Tobias Fox is the Founder and Managing Director of the community-driven, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc. Aside from being a writer and having ten years of independent publishing experience, Fox is a professional organizer, urban farmer, photographer, and coordinator of an annual Sustainable Living Empowerment Conference. He conducts various community events, presentations, and workshops on sustainable living practices and has assisted numerous urban farmers and gardeners with the cultivation of their agricultural space. Fox has earned many accolades for his work, including: As part of Newark’s 350th anniversary, he was selected by peers for outstanding contributions to the Newark community and included in 100 People of Newark, a series of 100 photographs and on-camera interviews with Newarkers. He was also awarded the 2016 Community Service Award presented by the Northeast Earth Coalition, named 2014 Newark NAACP Environmental Justice Honoree, presented in TEDxBroadStreet (2013), and was awarded an Exemplary Service Recognition by the Greater Newark Conservancy for Community Organizing in 2012.