“I love the story of ‘the little wood that could’. Hope lots of people get to know it.”

Above: a comment shared on twitter by Irish architect Helena Fitzgerald 3/5/2020. Image from within Hollywood forest, looking out to the wider world – from The Hollywood Forest blog by Cathy Fitzgerald.


‘uplifting and insightful writing, and images to delight the eye’ –

‘Getting Out into Nature with a Good Blog’, Paddy Woodworth, The Irish Times, 3 May 2020

I was honoured that my ‘Hollywood Forest Story’ was one of several eco-blogs featured in 🇮🇪 The Irish Times today!

I was also delighted to be in the company of others’ important work in this article – those who have long sought to raise appreciation and awareness for the wonder and plight of the living world. US author David George Haskell’s Song of the Trees (2017) is a favourite book of mine (the last book my late mother gifted to me) and I much admire Director of the Irish Biodiversity centre, Liam Lysaght’s unfailing energy to share the wonders of Irish biodiversity through social media. I’m looking forward to following others mentioned in this article too.

Confined as we are now under unsettling, shelter-at-home orders, writer and Irish Times journalist Paddy Woodworth chose to reflect how bloggers’ longer, multi-media articles help deepen our appreciation of life around us. In this great global pause, many of us are noticing and are more grateful for nature’s unceasing life-giving generosity – the birdsong, the freshness of trees, and those startlingly quiet, unmarked skies. The blogs listed in Paddy’s article take us deeper into understanding and knowing our wonderful world.

And aren’t we remembering something else too? If we look deeply at the living world now, if we can forgo the noise of 24h-news cycles, we can re-acquaint ourselves with what is fundamental for wellbeing. We are sensing and realising more, that our wellbeing is interwoven with planetary wellbeing. How could we have forgotten this essential knowing of how to live well with life? There is a crisis deep in the heart of the dominant culture, and I daresay our education, when our living has become so untethered from wellbeing. Lets hope this pause will invite more of us to learn what constitutes a healthy planet and healthy living, post-pandemic.


The Hollywood Forest Story blog

My blog tells my account from 2008 onwards, of my and my husband Martin Lyttle’s work to transform the monoculture tree plantation we live with, into a forest (and my work to help reimagine national Irish forest policy along the way). My blogging is also integral to my ongoing eco-social art practice too ( I argued in my doctoral research that blogs are a fantastic mechanism to share ecological arts practices that do not fit within short-term gallery programming). In my research, I highlighted the significant award-winning work of Australian Dr Lucas Ihlein, who details why blogs have a critical function for eco-social art practice and audience engagement for these urgent times.

Blogging is a craft, a creative ecology of practices for me. Walking in amongst the trees that form Hollywood forest, a neverending stream of inspiration bubbles up to fill my posts. Blogging has been my means to gain and share my ecoliteracy and then my unexpected agency for trying to change national forest policy, to act forests’ wellbeing here and elsewhere. Being all of 2 and a half proud acres, is why my followers know Hollywood forest as ‘the little wood that could!’

And a blog’s hyperlinked form mirrors the interconnected, interwovenness of life – its obvious to me – blogs are ideal media for promoting an ecological sense-ability, and hopefully store ecological good sense for others.

My grateful thanks to Paddy and everyone who shares the Irish ‘story of the little wood that could!


Visit my blog here (click on the image)

https://hollywoodforest.com/

Haumea Ecoliteracy for the Arts with Cathy Fitzgerald PhD

Hello! Kia Ora! My name is Cathy Fitzgerald, and I’m an Irish-based New Zealander living in rural Ireland these past 20 years.

Since the late 1990s, I have been inspired by the emergent art and ecology field in visual culture, and later, more specifically in contemporary ecological art practice and research.

Cathy Fitzgerald
Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice: eco-social artist | educator | researcher |

#FridayArt4Emergency: Lisa Fingleton’s annual 30-Day Local Food Challenge

It is not easy to eat local Irish food all year round and I know that. There are hungry months in late Spring when the food is just not ready after late frosts. So three years ago I decided to do a trial month: A 30 day local food challenge. September seemed a really good option as the garden is truly abundant with tomatoes, kale, spinach, herbs, peas, beans, onions, garlic, beets, carrots, parsnips and the list goes on. It is a luscious month in the gardening calendar. To eat Irish still means doing without what Barbara Kingsolver called ‘botanically outrageous’ foods, but it is somehow easier this month with all the food on offer in the garden and hedgerows.

Lisa Fingleton talking about the annual 30 Day Local Food Challenge

A creative eco-social art practice that I really admire is Irish artist Lisa Fingleton’s 30 Day Local Food Challenge. The creative idea grew several years ago when Lisa was horrified to read the 40 listed and many imported ingredients in a BLT sandwich, and then and there, decided to challenge herself to just eat local Irish food for a month. She then shared her challenge on social media and others became involved.

Growing up in a household where her father grew all their food and now living on a small farm with her partner in Co. Kerry, Ireland, Lisa’s creative practice awakens awareness of the unsustainability of the globalized food system for herself and her local community. Her work highlights the shocking statistic that only 1% of Irish farms grow vegetables, the lowest in the EU  (which is doubly shocking considering Ireland’s history of famine). Most heartening is that Lisa’s practice has uncovered and promoted networks of local food producers in a fun and engaging way.

Lisa brings many strands of artist activity together and through drawings, photos, keeping a diary, and great conversation fosters much needed community awareness about an urgent topic for us all.

Over time, Lisa’s 30 Day Local Food Challenge has developed considerable national press and radio attention. Lisa has since toured the project to other counties, conducted children’s workshops and created a very delightful, informative book about the project (which can be purchased from her website (http://lisafingleton.com).The-Local-Food-Project-Book-For-Sale

Three years later, this year’s 2019 Challenge is underway for the month of September and I’m happy to see the idea is catching on across the country. To join in, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/30daylocalfoodchallenge/

And, it is a challenge once you start, to only eat food from your country and forgo all the imported treats and exotic fruits. However, making decisions about your food does makes real how the industrial food model all too easily has alienated us from being sustainable and self reliant. When environmental writer Naomi Klein writes thats ‘everything must change’, Lisa’s work shows how creative workers can help communities foster ecoliteracy, fun and agency for a better world we know is possible.