Eco-friendly city living

Building Friendships in Our Community Garden

Several blocks from our house, we have a lovely community garden. Considering that many homes in the area have room for their own gardens, it’s surprisingly popular.

Our neighborhood community garden is made possible thanks to a generous local family that has set up access to part of its private property to benefit the community. The concept is great—all about camaraderie and growing fresh food (even fresher than the market). Participants donate to a local food program and contribute their time to maintaining the garden and purchasing supplies.

Although we haven’t yet started our own garden plot, my son Scott and I love going to the garden to help out our next-door neighbor. It might seem a little bit strange to help a neighbor weed and deal with potato beetles, but we love it. There’s something so therapeutic about being outside among lovely growing things.

In addition to helping our next-door neighbor, it’s been great to form relationships as we meet “plot neighbors” on visits and gradually learn more about each other. A visit to the garden to witness a neighborhood busy about its business—both socializing and working. Members work in their plots all the while chatting about their interests, local events, and maybe a bit of gossip, too.

On Scott’s previous visit, he met a couple from Germany who captured his imagination with the brief glimpse of their personal history that they were kind enough to share with him. Since he plans to be a film maker, his wheels are always turning, mulling over potential story ideas that could come from this community garden with its cast of players. It also made him want to come home and do some research about life in Germany in the 1980s, so there’s an educational bonus.

Just spending time in the garden, you can tell from the conversations and the sense of complete contentment that the community garden serves more than one purpose. It’s a place for growing food and for nurturing relationships that help to strengthen our larger garden—our town.

What an appropriate way to exhibit new urbanism.

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