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RE: Re: questions about c gardening

  • To: "John Verin" <jverin@pennhort.org>
  • Subject: RE: [cg] Re: questions about c gardening
  • From: "Pat Elazar" <Pat_Elazar@cwb.ca>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 16:55:23 -0600
  • Content-Disposition: inline

John said:
[> 1) WHY are most community gardens in low-income neighborhoods??
> If they are?
>

All IMHO...

Because there the people are landless, and probably don't even own the place
they live in. It is the one thing they can really call their own. Landless
but financially stable people have the means to take trips and vacations to
places with nature.

Also, a garden is a place of self-expression coming from communities whose
voice is least heard in our nation.]

Pat replies:
John has some good pts in his reply, but I think the operative word here is
"stable". I work with several community gardens here in the Winnipeg (500mi NW
of Minneapolis) area in varying circumstances. The socio-economic backgrounds
range from poverty-stricken, transient rooming house districts all the way to
middle-class, detached home neighbourhoods.

The more successful community gardens here tend to be in stable, working class
neighbourhoods. Time is the delineator: The blue collar rat & bureaucrat make a
good wage, but either can't work more hours at that wage (moonlighting would be
at a lower pay rate), or the overtime would push them into a punitive tax
bracket. The gardeners are financially stable & quite often (although not
always) have rural or farm origins. Many are self sufficient in vegetables &
preserve pickles, jams, soups & tomato sauces for winter consumption.

There are gardens in the more transient neighbourhoods, but the folks who plant
the seeds in the spring are not always there to harvest the produce in the fall.
In the poorest neighbourhoods, people are more concerned with day-to-day
survival. The time frame of applying for a plot; buying & planting seeds;
tending a plot; harvesting produce & processing or preserving the produce is
simply too ambitious for people who dont know whether they will be living in the
city, on a reservation, in prison or in detox by the time the crop comes in.

In the more upscale "SUV" districts, on the other hand, the constraining factor
is time more than anything else. The successful, self-employed person, or
professional pulling down $50/hr has to really maximize the utility of their
non-working hours. Planting tomatoes or flowers might just not be the top
priority for those with severely limited leisure hours. And you can always jump
into the 4-Runner & head out to the farmers market.

I should mention that property values here are drastically lower than in say-
Toronto, so most employed persons can afford to own a home with at least a door
yard. So that means that community/allotment gardeners here tend larger plots
than the ones I've seen on the Clinton St & Eagle Heights website. I'm talking
about 20' X 20' and up. My own allotment plot is about 65' X 35'. I do garden in
the back yard (fruits, nuts, berries, herbs & four 40' X 3' raised beds), but
I'm aiming at self sufficiency in grains & staples and passing on some of my
agri skills to my kids, so I need more space. There are a few gardeners in
Riverside Garden Co-op & University Gardens who actually market garden on plots
the size of mine.




"John Verin" <jverin@pennhort.org> on 12/06/2000 08:52:45 AM
                                                              
                                                              
                                                              
 To:      "Cynthia VanHazinga" <cynthiavh@earthlink.net>      
                                                              
 cc:      "listserv cg" <community_garden@mallorn.com>        
                                                              
                                                              
                                                              
 Subject: RE: [cg] Re: questions about c gardening            
                                                              






>
> Dealing with queries from my editor at New Age Journal and would like your
> opinions:
>
> 1) WHY are most community gardens in low-income neighborhoods??
> If they are?
>

All IMHO...

Because there the people are landless, and probably don't even own the place
they live in. It is the one thing they can really call their own. Landless
but financially stable people have the means to take trips and vacations to
places with nature.

Also, a garden is a place of self-expression coming from communities whose
voice is least heard in our nation.

> 2) WHY are most community gardens in large or largish cities?
>
Because the need for natural life is least present and most needed there.
Because Nature is asking that we restore its presence on its planet. Because
humans intrinsically need nature to cultivate a connection to life, and
where there is none, those who intuitively know this are responding to the
call.


_______________________________________________
community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden




_______________________________________________
community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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