We spent some time this morning gathering blackberries in a favorite spot of ours in an empty lot near our apartment. It seems as though the berries were late to ripen this year. However, they are in incredible abundance, which also seems different from last year. We spent a little less than an hour collecting berries, some to eat today, and more to freeze for the winter. We made no clear visual impact on the bushes. You would not have been able to tell we had picked anything because there were so many berries left.

These brambles, easily twice our heights in some places, are on land contiguous with some that is being turned into yet another soccer-field-playground-place-to-get-drunk-and-be-stupid-park, which while it is much needed in our densely packed ‘hood, it is also sad that the vision of what constitutes a public outdoor space is so limited, bureaucratic and outright boring. Copenhagen desperately needs more healing green spaces that are for animals and plants, and a functioning, natural watershed, as much as they are for people. There need to be more spaces for reflecting and communing with nature, eating things you pick yourself that don’t come from stores, and simply being able to go somewhere that is not just an analog for your TV or indoor space, being able to disappear from the dirty, congested city if only in your mind for a short period. In a city that fantasizes itself one of the “greenest” (with deeply flawed fantasies of carbon neutrality in the future – more about this in a later post) in the world, why are there no foraging forests to walk through? Why are there not conversations about food resilience in the city? I am sure they happen on a micro-level amongst informed folks, but they are not happening on a mass level and this is troubling and shortsighted and shows the city is not at the forefront of the conversations happening in other places.

Despite our frustration with the lack of ecological leadership on the municipal level, and the profoundly dull “green” spaces we are handed, we are heartened by our modest harvest of wild berries. The blackberries have found a way to thrive in the cracks of control and droll city building. We thank them for their tenacious and successful resistance. They inspire us to be more like blackberries in how we think our presence in this city.

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