The Buzz began on a cold, grey winter’s day in July 2013, in Melbourne, Australia, at a time when a lot of things seemed impossible, including getting out in the garden and finding some respite from a world where bad news often feels like a highly infectious disease.
So, why The Buzz? There’s the obvious bee reference, because we won’t have food if we don’t have bees, and we know that bees are under threat from the pesticides that have entered the food chain via industrialised agriculture. At the most basic level, then, The Buzz is about growing, eating and preserving our own food, how to do this in an urban context, and how to grow our communities in the process.
The Buzz also sounded like an old-style newspaper, a mix of local happenings and global news – a gossip column next to a report on the Middle East; how to grow great tomatoes mixed in with the latest crime against humanity. A bit like the Internet, I guess. From the local to the global, a mess of information swirls around us, and out of that The Buzz is trying to extract some common sense.
A less obvious reference is to a period in time – the 1970s, a decade when the world seemed poised to take a different route (instead, we did a U-turn). There was, as Charmian Clift described Australia in the late 1960s, a feeling of ‘imminence’. And from a very young age, I played my parents’ Jesus Christ Superstar album over and over, and over. (I still have that record, and it gets a spin every now and then.) I always thought my first love was Jesus Christ Superstar, but in hindsight, it was probably Ian Gillan. And one of my favourite tracks was (and still is) ‘What’s the Buzz’.
I’d like to think that The Buzz is something good getting around, a current of thought, an idea, a change in and challenge to the dominant way of doing things. The Buzz is also a community space, and a community, where there are no exclusions, unless, of course, you preach more of the same. You’ll find my thoughts on the what underlies The Buzz Community here.
If you’ve got this far, please join in The Buzz. There are lots of ways we can help each other tackle the uncertain future by focusing on today, on what we ate, what we planted, what corporation or government we took on and brought to account, what small gesture or act gave us a glimmer of hope in humanity.
Feature image: Hardenbergia, or The Happy Wanderer, in bloom, August 2015.