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Gardening alone


Hello friends-
In these parts the hot topic is a book by Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone: The
Collapse and Revival of American Community.  The title comes from the fact
that although bowling is now more popular than ever, bowling leagues are
losing membership. Putnam describes the loss of "social capital" in this
country.  I think of it as the loss of ability to do things that require
concerted effort by a group of people.  I'm thinking of community gardening
as an example/model of how social capital remains and builds in our
neighborhoods, and ACGA's From the Roots Up program has developed some
interesting ways to help people strengthen the skills that lead to stronger
social networks.  I don't know that we can present community gardening as
the antidote to "bowling alone," but if Putnam remains hot, we should have a
lot to say on local and national levels.  Maybe we need to produce a piece
called Gardening Alone.  Putnam's book, although it is statistically based,
is practically anecdotal as it attempts to describe this trend.  I think we
have better stories than he does and a stronger sense of where improvement
can come from.  His concluding chapter is pretty weak.  What are your
thoughts?
Jack Hale


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