herstory

The founder and creator of Plant Gang is me, Liv Worsnop.

I am an artist and environmentalist who realised that the best and only thing to put my life and energy into is that which gives me life and energy, this magic planet.

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Plant Gang began after I completed the Botanical Appreciation Project as part of The Social 2013 series. I had such an electric time doing this work. I had entered into the subtle, soft, gentle, generous lives the plants were leading in our CBD. It was like I was let into a little secret, sacred world where potential, regeneration and life were the overarching themes - instead of destruction, brokenness and trauma. I remember sitting in C1 saying to myself “this is it!” I wanted to work in the CBD and I wanted to work with plants.

The cultural landscape was beginning to be populated by transitional groups, Gapfiller and Greening the Rubble were in existence and my brain racked a way that I could also enter this new and creative space without doing what they were doing. Easy. WE are different people, of course that would happen. I was inspired by the idea that this was ‘a call to arms - to avoid botanical harms’ in which we worked to saviour these temporary worlds and embrace the lessons of how LIFE reacts to a disaster which could then inform the rebuild of our city. So I called my work ‘Plant Gang’.

I had many successes and many failures. I have had in excess of 100 volunteers over the last 6ish years: wonderful, innovative, creative people who wanted to do good things and be involved in this unique cities unique time. I have done countless projects and been featured in newspaper and magazine articles, in a documentary and had a radio show for 2.5 years. Most importantly, I have heard from people that the projects that existed in the CBD inspired, delighted and provoked thought. The tiny gardens, the subtle signs, the empty lot that remained devoid of human made rubbish for a few weeks all sparked curiosity and shifts in the way people thought about Christchurch.

Yet I seemed to quite like doing projects on my own, completely undermining on of the founding ideas of Plant Gang - to be a GANG! I am an impulsive person who very much does things when she feels like it. I recognised that this was a way I was happy working - I did not want to organise groups of people. Not my jam. This meant that some of my projects never really lifted off the ground, but it also gave rise to a new expression and avenue for Plant Gang to take. I also had the physical restrictions of a small body digging gravelly soil. Hard work it was!

Most importantly I recognised that ‘Plant Gang’ was not an exclusive, members only group of people who planted in the dead of night or who had to volunteer to claim membership, but it was and always had, included everyone and everything on this planet forever and ever amen. I came up with the phrase TO BE IN PLANT GANG YOU MUST: Like plants, eat food or breathe air. SEE, everyone. I recognised that operating from a digital space had deep and reverberating influence upon people. Online I am able to create and gift ideas and inspiration to people the world over. This is what I seek to do NOW - in 2019.

I am beginning with a blog. Little stories of my interactions, relationships and research into the plant world. My need to know more about plants is driven by my need to be in synergy with this world. How can we return to the earth when we know not about her magic?