Artist Mona Caron, internationally known for her multi-story murals celebrating the rebellious resilience of weeds, and her work creating art for climate justice and other social movements, is known more locally for her community-specific murals of local history leading to collectively visioned positive futures, and is giving visual form to this album with the cover art, animations, and the design for the seed packets accompanying this music.
Mona’s Weeds celebrate the rebellious resilience of clandestine beings flourishing against all odds, and began a decade ago as series of stop-motion mural animations painted in places of life-affirming resistance across the world. Her Weeds then grew into an ongoing international proliferation of giant murals of tiny plants found growing through the pavement at each location.
Recent works include a 16 story mural in Quito, created by invitation of local activists and in conceptual and hands-on collaboration with Amazonian and Andean women at the front lines of fights against extractivism and in defense of indigenous sovereignty; as well as a mural in Taiwan depicting giant healing herbs sprouting from hopeful gatherings of people facing a dystopian reality, which Taiwanese press and officials claims to be the largest mural in Asia.
Mona’s artwork for Growing Upward, as well as the many other volunteer contributors to the multidisciplinary project that Growing Upward encompasses, can be supported by purchasing this artwork in its many versions on our store!
In 2017, I started drafting a Declaration of Human Rights for the Other San Francisco, a document to bear witness to the immense violations of rights I had witnessed as a physician since the onslaught of the tech boom in San Francisco--the evictions of the elderly, the criminalization of the poor, the killing of Black and Brown people in neighborhoods that became desirable to the new wealthy residents, the displacements, the dissolving on delicate ecologies of neighborhoods, so many things. Guillermo Gomez-Peña invited me to perform this with him at a performance in San Francisco, which was a psycho-magical exorcism of tech companies from the body of San Francisco, or Yelamu, the place's indigenous Ohlone name. Guillermo then took the document and added, amended and improved upon it. We continued this iterative process until we settled on a version from which this recording is pulled. The beat was created in collaboration with Damion Gallegos (The Coup, FungoMungo) and features voices of indigenous and frontline activists Kalama O Ka Aina, Antonio M and Tasos Anastasiou and ends with the voice of Tipiziwin Tolman, Lakota language reviver, all of whom are saying "We Are Still Here" in their native languages. The full declaration will be appearing in a publication of Guillermo Gomez-Peña's work in 2019.
Cichorium intybus--An Italian red variety that is a incredible nutrient rich green with vibrant red stems. Scientific name of Cichorium intybus. Farmer Ben grew this one on his rooftops in Berkeley and allowed it to go to seed yet the original source of the seed goes back to our friends at Johnny’s Select Seeds in Winslow Maine. Italian dandelion is hardy and can be planted as early as the soil can be worked. It is a cool weather crop and grows best at cooler temperatures of 60-65°F (15.5-18.3°C).
Seeds can be started in cell packs or directly into the garden. Either method you cover with 1/2” of soil.. For direct seeding sow 1” apart on a rows 8” apart. Water and keep moist till germination occurs which is 7-10 days.
For harvest you can pick at any stage of growth. For continual harvest wait till plant is 6-10” tall and then cut all leaves and stems at 3” above soil level. The plant will retro new leaves from the center. You can get 4-5 cuttings until it is too bitter. Unharvested plants will eventually make a flower stalk with the characteristic blue chicory flowers. The flavor is bitter, with background sweetness.