World Naked Gardening Day
|This article reads like a news release, or is otherwise written in an overly promotional tone. (May 2014)|
|World Naked Gardening Day|
|Status||active since 2005|
|Genre||annual naturism/nudism, gardening, guerilla gardening, permaculture event|
|Date(s)||first Saturday of May|
|Frequency||Annually, first Saturday of May|
|Inaugurated||Saturday, September 10, 2005|
|Founder||Jacob Gabriel & Mark Storey|
|Most recent||Saturday, May 3, 2014|
|Previous event||Saturday, May 4, 2013|
|Next event||Saturday, May 2, 2015|
|Organised by||Body Freedom Collaborative|
World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is an annual international event celebrated on the first Saturday of May by gardeners and non-gardeners alike. According to NBC's Today News, WNGD "has become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff. While it’s linked to a movement of nudists who promote wholesome and unashamed acceptance of the human body, the day is meant to be funny, lighthearted and non-political, founders say."
WNGD was founded and is organized by Mark Storey, consulting editor for Nude & Natural magazine and permaculturalist Jacob Gabriel, as a project of Body Freedom Collaborative (BFC). In its early days, Mark Storey had a vision of BFC engaging in "guerrilla pranksterism" such as hopping out of a van or showing up spontaneously in an urban environment and engaging in guerilla gardening.
Storey is the current project lead and he introduced the concept to readers of Nude & Natural magazine in 2005 and followup stories in later years in the same magazine. Corky Stanton, of Clothes Free International, who was also providing web hosting for World Naked Bike Ride at that time, supported the effort with web site hosting and promotion from the beginning of the project.
In the New York Daily News, Mark Storey notes that WNGD is not owned by any one organization. "No particular organization owns World Naked Gardening Day," Storey said, and it's not actually one large gathering of horticulturists in Seattle who strip down and shear some shrubs together."
While the phenomenon quickly spread internationally, little investment has been made by its founders. "Storey said he and Johnson[Note 1] haven’t spent any money or gone to any great lengths to promote World Naked Gardening Day since they initiated it. They helped create a website early on, and then receded into the background. They intended that the idea of an introduction to clothes freedom through gardening was valuable and would grow organically on its own."
Fixing the date of the event
WNGD was inspired by a combination of Gabriel's involvement in and inspiration by the success of World Naked Bike Ride, the first of which was held internationally in 2004 and the enjoyment and simplicity of Storey's experience with his wife, gardening naked in the backyard as well as his experience naked hiking and kayaking. The first annual World Naked Gardening Day event took place on September 10, 2005. In 2007, the event date was moved to the first Saturday in May where it still takes place to this day.[Note 2] The event takes place the day before International Permaculture Day, which takes place on the first Sunday of May.
Summer dates have been suggested due to colder temperate climate temperatures in May, to coincide with a joint World Naked Bike Ride event and for other reasons.[Note 3] But WNGD is about gardening, and gardeners know that spring is a key time to nurture plants. Also, WNGD may be enjoyed both indoors and outside.
According to the organizers, "besides being liberating, nude gardening is second only to swimming as an activity that people are most ready to consider doing nude," an assertion described as "true" by The Hamilton Spectator. The organization's website claims people throughout the world are "invited to tend their portion of the world's garden clothed as nature intended."
WNGD is endorsed by The Naturist Society, Clothes Free International and American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR), among others. Storey is the co-founder and current project lead of WNGD and moderates the WNGD Yahoo! Discussion group. Although the event is associated with the socio-cultural naturist movement, its founders assert the day is intended to be "lighthearted," and void of politics.
An AANR press release, published during the sixth annual World Naked Gardening Day, described naked gardening to be a healthy practice. AANR public relations representative Tom Mulhall claims naked gardening may help boost a positive self-image.
Beyond body image, "Stanton cited fringe benefits of bare, unabashed recreation: the satisfaction of exercising in the great outdoors; the attractiveness of an all-over tan; more vitamin D on your whole body; the unbeatable experience of skinny-dipping if the naturist event involves a beach or a lake."
Private vs. public observance
While the event is most often done in secluded areas, such as at home, BFC first kicked off the event with its trademark "guerrilla pranksterism" and did a photo shoot for the project's web site in a public park. In another year Storey and Gabriel enlisted the help of local free beach users at an unofficial clothing-optional beach park on Lake Washington, in Seattle. Storey has also suggested that some remote hiking location would be quiet enough to host a trail cleanup.
Many people chose not to venture beyond the relative safety of non-public areas. “It’s not about exposing your body to other people,” said Corky Stanton, of Clothes Free International, an organization that promotes nude recreation. “It’s about body acceptance and being one with nature on your own. ... We actually do these events in secluded areas,”
During the fifth annual World Naked Gardening Day in the United Kingdom, celebrated in 2010, organizers encouraged people to go naked either in their private gardens or in public parks. According to the Sky News Online, organizers of the event thought an "au naturel joie de vivre" will bind all communities and people regardless of their background and age.
Gardens Everywhere Bike Parade
In 2009, inspired by the success of both World Naked Bike Ride Seattle and WNGD, along with being inspired by his permaculture schooling at the time, Gabriel founded the Gardens Everywhere Bike Parade (GEBP), with co-organizer Kelda Lorax, a local permaculture designer, advocate, and instructor.[Note 4] It was Kelda who came up with the GEBP name for the event. The ride in part was to take the simplicity and theme of gardening in WNGD and take it more public and deeper into principles of permaculture. The clothing-optional bike ride showcased local permaculture projects as well as general permaculture principles. This same year Gabriel was involved in co-founding the Beacon Food Forest, the first known food forest on public lands.
The Ride launched from Om Culture in Wallingford, went East on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Local artist Franz and others had staged a body painting and art bike decorating party at that location. The ride then headed North on The Ave and toured the University District, stopped at the University District Farmer's Market and University Heights P-Patch at the University Heights Center. A tour was given by Kelda and the rainwater harvesting system was highlighted.
It continued up the Ave to a Shiga's Community Garden, which is also a Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Community Garden. At this time the garden was being cleared of invasive weeds leftover from a vacant lot into future planting in 2010. By coincidence volunteers were clearing that lot and GEBP helped the group for a few minutes carry out invasive weeds. The Seattle Police responded at Shiga's Garden from a complaint from the stop at the University Farmer's Market and left when the officers where reassured that riders were not going back to the market.
The ride then left traveled North to Thrive restaurant and enjoyed gourmet raw vegan food prepared by the restaurant staff for the riders. The ride continued to Roosevelt P-Patch and dropped in on a friends garden in the area. The ride continued through the Roosevelt district to Permaculturist Jenny Pell's house, then to Mighty-O Donuts in the Tangletown neighborhood, where the group serenaded, unsuccessfully the workers for donuts. The ride continued to a tour of Seattle Tilth at the Home of the Good Shepherd, took a tour of the grounds and surprised a wedding party taking place in the area bordering Meridian Playground and the Good Shephard Center.
After leaving Meridian Playground, the ride went to an intersection repair[Note 5] done with a mural of a giant ladybug. The Wallingford Ladybug, known as Wallybug, is located at the intersection of N 49th Street and Burke Ave N in Wallingford. It was created in 2004. The group then stopped in front of a residence where the homeowners were gardening in their front parking strip and the group sang for them. Another stop was made at a residence offering refreshments to riders, another stop at a neighbor selling organic heirloom produce from her yard and the ride ended at a private residence for a clothing-optional party in a backyard gardening featuring a handmade cobb masonry oven.
A fundraising film party was held at Thrive Cafe on September 9, 2009 which showed footage of the event collected by the riders and photographers.
In 2013, Ritchie Duncan, contributor to TruTv's Dumb as a Blog, suggested a hybrid event, "World Naked 'Star Wars' Gardening Day", encouraging readers to tweet their pictures to @DumbasaBlog with the hashtag #nakedstarwarsgardening. He joked that participants could say "May the fourth be with you,", in a nod to the date of the hybrid World Naked 'Star Wars' Gardening Day, which would occur that year (May 4, 2013), the same as the date of Star Wars Day (May Fourth) and the popular Star Wars expression "May the Force be with you."
One suggested idea was "Get naked and paint your face red and black like Darth Maul. Attach another rake to the handle of your existing rake for “nude double lightsaber raking action.” The blog author, Duncan, joked he has not though much of which franchise characters he would like to see naked gardening but joked, "I'd hate to have George Lucas digitally add clothes later."
Notable and historical naked gardening
Walt Whitman is also known to have written about his naked experiences in nature. In Specimen Day he wrote: "Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! --ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness then indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent. Perhaps indeed he or she to whom the free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature has never been eligible (and how many thousands there are!) has not really known what purity is--nor what faith or art or health really is."
Actress and PETA spokesperson, Alicia Silverstone, in an interview with Health magazine said "It probably started when I was doing my garden the first time. I’d be out there, and it would be scorching hot, so I would take off all of my clothes and garden. And then I would jump in the pool and swim - and I always get in the pool naked, because why would you want to put on a bathing suit?"
One month prior to the first WNGD event on September 10, 2005, Ian and Barbara Pollard, resident gardening experts on ITV's This Morning, held its first "clothes optional day" at Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England.
- Abbey House Gardens
- Body Freedom Collaborative
- Social nudity in Seattle
- Daniel Johnson changed his name to Jacob Gabriel in 2013.
- Previously, WNGD has taken place on September 10, 2005, 1st Annual; Saturday, September 9, 2006, 2nd Annual; Saturday, May 5, 2007, 3rd Annual (date switched to May for first time, first Saturday); Saturday, May 3, 2008, 4th Annual; Saturday, May 2, 2009, 5th Annual; Saturday, May 8, 2010, 6th Annual; Saturday, May 14, 2011, 7th Annual (accidentally set to 2nd Sat instead of first); Saturday, May 5, 2012, 8th Annual; Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9th Annual.
- In November of 2010, Gabriel suggested the idea of changing the date of WNGD to coincide with the All-Earth Holiday, Dachnik Day or Gardener's Day on July 23 as he was currently interested in the Anastasia movement of the Ringing Cedars book series, written by Siberian entrepreneur Vladimir Megre. This was a popular book within raw veganism and permaculture circles Gabriel was involved in at the time. Gabriel was also hoping to gain a warmer date for the event since May is often much cooler in temperate climates. Despite his interest, Gabriel was often not directly participating in events due to the cool Seattle May weather. He was also thinking that there could be a combination of both WNGD and the Gardens Everywhere Bike Parade to fill a strategic warm-weather date slot in the World Naked Bike Ride Seattle and Seattle social nudity event schedule. The idea for the date change and Dachnik Day affiliation never had much momentum and Gabriel later soundly rejected interest in the Ringing Cedars book and its overt new age ideas when he became a born-again Christian in the years soon after.
- At the time, Kelda Lorax went by the name Kelda Miller and she was one of Gabriel's Permaculture Design Course instructors. She is believed to have changed her name sometime around 2013.
- Intersection repair is a term coined by the City Repair Project, based in Portland, Oregon, and is essentially an artistic, whimsical, painted mural on the street aimed at slowing traffic and building interest in local neighborhood community building.
- "Fine Living: Nude gardening buffs exposed". Marin Independent Journal. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Laura T. Coffey (13 April 2011). "Not dirty to play in dirt on World Naked Gardening Day". MSNBC. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Metropolitan home. Meredith Corp. 2008. p. 64. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- "Nude climber craze tipped to take over Britain". The Daily Telegraph. 14 July 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Laura T. Coffey (May 13, 2011). "Not dirty to play in dirt on World Naked Gardening Day: Saturday’s global movement celebrates weeding, planting flowers in the buff". Today News. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Nude & Natural (N), Guerilla Nudity/Wave Makers: Introducing the Body Freedom Collaborative by Mark Storey. Issue 23.1, Autumn 2003.
- Victoria Taylor (4 May 2013). "World Naked Gardening Day encourages no-pants planting". NY Daily News. Retrieved 17 Feb 2014.
- "World naked gardening day". The Hamilton Spectator. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Gardening naked as the end approaches". Mail Tribune. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "World Naked Gardening Day: Ready the soil, plant seeds and take off your clothes". Cleveland.com. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Have trowel, drop trou? – A nationwide day devoted to gardening in the nude doesn't seem to have gathered much traction in the Midwest.". Star Tribune. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Phwoar-ticultural: It's Naked Gardening Day". Sky News Online. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Naked Star Wars gardening Saturday? Who’s in?". May 3, 2013.
- Moye, David. "World Naked 'Star Wars' Gardening Day Is May 4". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Baker, Donna (May 3, 2010). "World Naked Gardening Day". Gather. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Spencer, Amy (August 19, 2009). "Alicia Silverstone: How a Vegan Diet Makes You Sparkle: Alicia Silverstone dishes on vegan diets, having children, and gardening naked.". Health magazine. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Nude & Natural 'N' Trends: Let's Have a World Naked Gardening Day by Mark Storey, 25.1, Pgs. 3-5, Autumn 2005. Mark Storey introduces the concept to N readers for the first time, before the event took place on September 10, 2005.
- The Naturist Society (TNS), "WNGD Blooms for a Sixth Year" by Mark Storey, April 2010. newsletter
- The Naturist Society (TNS), Nude & Natural Newsletter, "World Naked Gardening Day 2006" by Mark Storey, August 2006
- North, Jay. "The Windowsill Organic Gardener: Organic Gardening For The Urban Grower", CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 20, 2011)