DragonSpunk Helps Community Gardens Become Healing Spaces

Isaiah Powell from DragonSpunk, a San Francisco organization, tells us why local green spaces are so necessary and soil is the new oil.

by Phillip Mlynar
PHOTO: DragonSpunk

“Everything is interrelated,” says Isaiah Powell, the president of DragonSpunk. Based in San Francisco, the organization’s goal is to boost environmental rehabilitation while combating food insecurity and increasing animal habitat restoration.

Along with housing the Calibird Pollinator Sanctuary and running community food gardens, DragonSpunk has also begun to provide a range of microgreens to local residents. “I always had a fascination with watching biology happen,” explains Powell. “So that interest in seeing the planet grow was one of the primary ingredients that you need to have to do this.”

Taking time out from multitasking duties, we spoke to Powell about the importance of green spaces and the future of soil. We also touched on the bioaccumulation powers of sunflowers.

Taking Control of Your Food

“As you see everyday, the food is getting weaker and weaker by the year,” says Powell as he recaps his journey into farming and food awareness issues.

“I always knew that at some point in the future I wanted to control where my food came from and know where my food came from,” continues Powell. “Then fast forward to the pandemic and we’re seeing supply chain disruptions in real time. So that made it more important to grow food.”

Balancing Soil Erosion

Redressing soil erosion is one of the key DragonSpunk mission goals.

“You hear that the top soil around the world is degrading and soil will soon be the new oil,” explains Powell. “So you put all this stuff together. The soil has to be active. Growing up, we thought bacteria was bad, fungus was bad. But no, there’s good fungus.

“So it comes with starting to learn about the soil.”

Read more: Soil fertility management gets your soil in shape.

Spotlighting the Calibird Pollinator Sanctuary

Maintaining the Calibird Pollinator Sanctuary is an integral part of running DragonSpunk.

“The goal is to provide the best habitat for our pollinators,” explains Powell. “We have a lot of natives and attracting plants like the milkweed. It’s to provide habitat for the pollinators and serve as a laboratory.”

“For instance, there’s a lot of schools around here, so the kids come through and ask, ‘Why are you planting sunflowers?’ I tell them they’re bioaccumulators that pull things out of the ground like lead. Now they’re intrigued.”

The Importance of Green Spaces

Promoting the ideals of community gardens is another core focus of the DragonSpunk agenda.

“Community gardens are often in communities that have been neglected and damaged through poverty,” says Powell. “The garden serves as a healing space. It’s therapy. Green spaces are necessary.”

Read more: Keney Park Sustainability Project spreads excitement about urban agriculture.

Inside the DragonSpunk Name

Intrigued about the name of Powell’s organization, DrangonSpunk?

Well, it turns out that’s part of the aim.

“The dragon is about 75,000 years old,” says Powell as he gets into the mythology of the creature. “It came out of South Africa, and it was really associated with water and ensuring good harvests.

“The name is a powerful name and it has an impact. People hear it and they don’t understand it. But it sparks conversation and gets conversations going. That’s good.”

Follow DragonSpunk at Instagram.

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