I am overjoyed to have received photos from my friend Rebecca Bacla of the ecobrick “Food Forest Play Park” that we built together with several hundred students, six years ago in Balili, Mt. Province, Northern Philippines. The little mango tree that we planted in the center is now seven feet tall and bearing fruit. Many of the herb, berry and other plants we carefully choose are thriving. The grass is green, the snake sculpture is still smiling, and the ecobricks still contained! Yes, some glass bottles we used as bricks are broken (Ok Andrew, that wasn’t the best idea!) but, all in all it remains a fabulous testament of plastic transformed, and put to use as ecobricks and secured in such a way to inspire conscious raising transition.


I remember standing in this park six years ago, reflecting on my prior work as an artist, toiling away alone in my studio on a painting, and thinking to myself how vastly more rewarding, satisfying and valuable this type of cocreation was. Of course, to get there, the paintings were part of the path.  However, it is difficult to even compare one of my past static paintings to a thriving park that has sequestered a ton of plastic (that would have otherwise been contaminating the land around) and that brought a play ground to a school that didn’t otherwise have one?

Of course, one of the great things about paintings is that they can embody meaning, ideas and symbolisms that are carrying forth to inspire.  Yet, in this way our food forest park more like a painting. It is an existential immersive experience of regenerative and permaculture principles!  Those who experience the park, have a direct experience of these ideas and concepts.

And this is precisely why I remain so proud of it. Hundreds of students, parents and teachers all participated in the making of the park– either through their making and contribution of ecobricks, or their actual participation in making and laying the cob. Unlike the current sterile, zero-organic, plastic/metal playgrounds that now plague my country, this park immerses the players in organic experience. All the plants we choose are edible in some way– either the leaves, berries or fruit. So as the children run around, or sit and have their lunch, they can add a raw leave or berry to their diet.

I observed that there was a growing igorance and even fear of eating plants raw in the Philippines.  To have this ignorance removed at a young age is fantastically valuable, and something that you just can’t teach in a normal classroom. Learning to eat wild and raw is also key to ecobrick lessons about manufactured plastic packed food we’d been teaching. Finally, those playing in the park experience fantastically ecobricks put to use, which provides the legitimization of continued ecobricking, rather than wasting, of plastic.

I am really excited to get back to building in this way. Its fundamental to our vision of deep plastic transition. We’re at last ready to start applying ecobricks and earth in Indonesia. Our first Earth and Ecobrick workshop happened last month, and I can’t wait to see more food forest play parks like this manifest through massive community collaborations everywhere.


Construction Photos from August 2013

For those interested in how the ecobrick and earth building construction techniques have fared over time, my friend Andrew passed by last year to visit this park and others.  Together we put together an extensive report on the bottle building techniques used.

The report can be found on Eccobricks.org/andrew