A public art project connecting people thru nature.


Project Description:
Offshoots has had 3 incarnations. It stemmed from the desire to distribute the proliferating backyard gardens in a wealthy neighborhood of San Francisco.

Futurefarmers' Amy Franceschini asks people to donate offshoots of their plants which are then
distributed out to the larger public via a mobile potting shed. Each donation is tagged with the donors name, email address, location, plant identification and care instructions. The bottome half of the tag remains blank and will be filled out by the recipient. (see tag below).

Once enough offshoots have been collected, they are separated by families and distributed to the public in a handmade bag with soil and starter pot. Each recipient is asked to contact the donor via email with a thank you note. Each recipient fills in their name, email address and location and is asked to document the plant in its new home.

Futurefarmers keeps a database of all donors and recipients in order to map the distribution of the plants through this project.

*Often donors get excited by the project and donate herbs, homemade wine, jam and other fruits. With this we serve the wine to the public and provide tea made with the herbs.

Physical Description:
Offshoots takes the form of a potting shed equip with kitchenette, library and sitting area.
The open architecture invites viewers to participate in the space and in the exchange of plants and information.
The main structure is two medium sized tables and a small coffee table for visitors to sit and browse books that are made available in a make-shift library. The library is made up of books that range from issues of permaculture, ecology, nature to art, technology and architecture. Books have been donated by plant donors and libraries in past projects. A small kitchenette will provide organic coffee and tea made from herbs gathered from backyards.

Material List:
-Power strip
-two tables (preferrably wooden with casters) or two table tops with saw horses
-ceramic pots
-camping stove

Amy Franceschini started Offshoots on a small scale with her neighbors. She collected offshoots of cacti and herbs from their backyards and distributed them freely to the public from her mobile potting shed at the Exploratorium, San Francisco. Each offshoot is distributed with soil, and care instructions. These items are packaged in a handmade bag and sealed with a tag that identifies the plant and the donor of the plant.
(some donors ask to remain anonymous)
The bag is modeled after a money bag which banks use to distribute money. This bag serves as a metaphor for distributing not only the wealth of nature, but the wealth of those with backyards in San Francisco.

This distribution project and site is a vehicle to cultivate a consciousness of the fragile natural environment that we live in and the need to continually engage in its wonders. The installation allows for the artist to engage with visitors and direct them to books in the library and discuss the project and issues around the project directly. Tea was served which was made from the herbs people had donated.

Further Thoughts :

I see no need to use money bags at this point, in fact, i feel it is a conflict
of interest. But i would like to document it more carefully; including photos
of the origin of offshoot, donor and also photos of where the offshoot ends up.

Another incarnation of the project i forsee is the inception of a Community Garden made from all the donations. Bringing together all the neighborhoods of one city to represent diversity and community
through the planting and nurturing of natures wonders.