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April 23, 2020  

Gil Lopez: Guerrilla Gardening in Queen, Resilient Communities and the Power of Radical Ideas 

April 23, 2020


A few words before this episode.

Gil who's interviewed here has been laid off since I recorded this episode and the NYC Compost Project and the curbside compost collection in NYC, for which he worked are coming to pass. Curbside compost pick-up will end on May 4 and the Compost Project will be completely mothballed in July, he told me. 

However, Gil’s spirit is still high.

“I’m doing okay,” he wrote to me. “I was laid off last month but I received my first unemployment check today. 

 I’m am blessed beyond words to have my community garden to go to and be outside in the sun and soil basically whenever I want”.

Now, on my side, I am sheltering in place with my wife and three daughters. We never expected to have Zoe, our 21-year-old at home with us again and are enjoying this extra time with her.

I hope you, my listeners are well. Please stay home and stay safe! 



In this episode, I am on the phone with Gil Lopez the founder of Smiling Hogshead Ranch an urban garden in Queens New York. 

The Smiling Hogshead Ranch started 9 years ago as a “guerilla garden” on a set of abandoned railroad tracks. After many backs on forth with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, they managed to secure a lease.

Today the Ranch is an agriculture farm and community garden by day, and a social club and cultural venue. 

-- Gil, I have read that you see the more important effects of community gardens as being psychological, off-setting mindsets of commodification and enhancing ideas of community.

The coronavirus is devastating our economy, deeply impacting our way of life and putting a stop to production and consumption. It is a costly reminder that in order to survive our communities must transition to a more resilient model. 


Here are Gil’s recommendations


Basic Call To Consciousness 

by Akwesasne Notes 


Documentaries (YouTube)

HyperNormalisation: by Adam Curtis


The Century of the Self