Smokers in the Garden.
- Subject: [cg] Smokers in the Garden.
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 09:33:04 EDT
This is a non-smoker speaking. And while many of my friends, including our
legendary Clinton Community Garden volunteer, John Carney was a smoker and
died of lung cancer, I think that banning smoking from heavily used, urban
community gardens is balderdash.
Perhaps this may be a bias from my days in the bar business, but I like
smokers. They tend to have a sense of humor, an acceptance of their own
mortality and tip better. Mallory Jacobsen, who was for many, many years the
strong personality at the Clinton Community Garden and instrumental in the
creation of our ethos of service and accessibilty to community, was a
smoker. While many of our gardeners are non-smokers, many still do and have
the grace not to blow smoke on the tomato plants. One of our best volunteers
has a two pack a day habit.
In our 150 x 100 garden in midtown Manhattan, with 3,500 + members, we had
enough of a hard time getting rid of the junkies, crack-heads, winos and
vandals and creating a welcoming space . While it has been suggested by
passive users of the space and carrot wielding authoritarian types in our
gardening, but not hard core volunteer base - a smoking ban has been shrugged
off, mainly by non-smokers.
In context: Beating people up for using a legal product which they can also
use in every NYC Park. ain't the way to go if you want to be taken seriously
in another public space. Non-smoking offices, restaurants and alas, bars has
a reasonable rationale.
We are a safe haven for seniors, many of whom smoke. We have Fountain House,
a clubhouse for mentally ill people on our block whose members smoke and for
whom our garden is a haven. Our grape arbor even has an ash tray to
Those are the smoking politics of the Clinton Community Garden within the
neighborhood that it serves.
Note: Some of our best gardeners and volunteers stopped smoking because they
first came to the garden and found the act of gardening therapeutic. When
they got all Taliban about smokers, I asked them if they would have become
gardeners if they had been told told to take their "nasty butts out of here"
when they first checked-in to our little slice of pardise.?
To a gardener, they said no - it was the gradual changing of the lifestyle
that made them non-smokers.
Many folks smoke because they have idle, nervous hands. Give 'em a trowel (
and ask 'em to rinse off their hands when their working near tomatoes!)
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