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Re: Homelessness and gardening

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Homelessness and gardening
  • From: jay sokolovsky <jsokolov@stpt.usf.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:29:39 -0400

As a follow-up to Jodi's discussion - Another approach is to look at the ACGA web site for programs that deal with homeless individuals who have been encouraged to make more productive use of the garden spaces often by starting to work with a few individuals to give them some growing space. Some programs such as in Seattle (Seattle Youth works) have proactive programs for homeless youth, teaching them about organic gardening and selling produce at the same time they are given services.

Jay Sokolovsky

Jodi Rhoden wrote:

Jim:
I suggest that you talk to the individuals who are sleeping in the senior
center landscaping.  Its amazing how far a little communication goes, and
its amazing how most of us who work on these issues often do everything
imaginable EXCEPT involve homeless people themselves in the decisions that
effect their lives.  Consider a compromise:  "we would like this to be used
as a community space; feel welcome to be here but you must help us keep it
clean and safe for everyone."
The shelter is not an appropriate solution for many homeless people.  Most
shelters are fundamentalist christian-based, which often means that homeless
people can not get a meal without being preached to or condescended to, and
most are single-gender only, which prevents families and partners from being
able to sleep together; many people work and are unable to line up at the
shelter at 2 or 4 pm to reserve a bed at night; disease and theft are
rampant, and many simply do not feel that shelters are safe or healthy
places for them.  Some people choose to sleep outside, and that is their
right.
In our community garden here in Asheville, NC, we have never discouraged the
homeless from being in the garden, even sleeping there, and in return our
garden is respected and rarely disrupted by that community.  (in contrast,
the City, which takes a "war on the homeless" approach to seemingly every
dealing with that community, is consistently having to close down, lock up,
or otherwise remove public spaces that would otherwise benifit the whole
community)  There always have been and always will be litter problems in a
public space, but I feel that that is a small price to pay in comparison to
the potential to live in a community, not a maze of fences and closed doors.
I hope you will consider at least trying this approach before you take a
"not in my backyard" stance to homelessness.  Being poor is not a crime, and
neither is being an addict, as some homeless people are.  The problem will
not be solved by pushing the homeless further out of society and making them
invisible.
Sincerely,
Jodi Rhoden
Bountiful Cities Project
Asheville, NC



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______________________________________________________ The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list: community_garden@mallorn.com


To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription: https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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