Back To Top
Beach Grit

Watch: Mark Healey in “My Secret Garden!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

"Villainising GM foods is asinine," says filmmaker Cyrus Sutton.

Women of a certain advanced age will get the title of this story. It refers, as none of you know or me until recently, to the Nancy Friday book My Secret Garden, an explosive collection of female sexual fantasies that was released in 1973.

Let’s read a couple of quotes for context:

“Rape does for a woman’s sexual fantasy what the first martini does for her in reality: both relieve her of responsibility and guilt.”

“Who said “ladies” don’t use words like “fuck” and “cunt,” or that one doesn’t use them around “ladies”? Maybe not when you’re having lunch with a lady, but when a lady’s fucking, she’s not having lunch.”

And the compelling fantasy?

Madge is a married woman, who has a very detailed fantasy she eagerly shares with Friday.

“I find myself at the door of a big house,” she begins.

 A black man, and a ‘buxom’ black woman invite her into their home. She is dragged into a room with a large male dog and a young man.

“I am ordered to strip naked,” Madge recounts, and the man says “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

(Read the long-form version of that here: Friday Nancy – My secret garden)

But we come not for Nancy nor the erotic liberation of women, but the liberation of big-waver Mark Healey’s garden in the hills behind the North Shore. The filmmaker and #vanlife doyen, Cyrus Sutton, has made this short about Healey’s little garden being transformed by a group called “Permablitz.”

“The past three years I was making a documentary about food sovereignty in Hawaii called Island Earth,” says Cyrus. “The project took me away from beach culture and introduced me to the backyard farming movement across the islands. A group called ‘Permablitz’ on Oahu really impressed me. It’s a reciprocal gardening network that combines hands-on small-scale farming education with a party. If you participate in three events flush with local food, music and garden building, you become eligible for the ‘party’ to come to your house. At the end of the day you’ll walk away with a new garden in your backyard and a working knowledge of how maintain it and cultivate food for yourself and your neighbors. I gardening is typically seen as a menial task and I like these folks were breathing some fun into it.”

Is it a rail against the evils of genetically modified foods?

“It’s not exactly railing against genetically modified foods,” says Cyrus.

I know you’re a realist as much as an idealist. Some GM foods are good, yes? Increased yields etc? What’s the bad side o’ things?

“GM foods are a technology, villainising any technology is asinine,” says Cyrus. “I have issues with how the technology is being used right now but I think GMO’s have potential to solve some problems.”

Describe Healey (last seen on these pages pushing his barrow in a feud against Depactus founder Luke Egan).

“He’s just a no-bullshit, hard working guy who like to fish, hunt and surf. He cares about self-reliance and thinks the world would be a better place if everyone took stake in their realities and endeavored to improve them.”

And the take-out from the film?

“A lot of the food we eat is imported from a long ways away. We can work together to improve the quality and impact of our food by coming together to learn, share and reap the nutritious rewards in a fun way.”