In reference to Dorene Pasekoff's justifiably perturbed post:
We need to take Philadelphia Green's head Mr. Mike Groman gently by the hand and explain to the dear man that an empty lot planted with some grass and trees is nice, but impersonal and really not sustainable in the long run without a steady source of govenrmental or land trust funds. And while a grass planted lot with a few trees is certainly better than an urban wasteland, is really the green equivalent of asphalt and a few basketball hoops.
. A community garden or neighborhood maintained viewing garden or green space is filled with the spirit and character of the community it serves. More than a park plunked down in a space, like it was dropped by a UFO overnight, a volunteer run community garden, viewing garden or public green space creates a ripple effect of positive development and community building and cohesion; this space becomes a living, green, integral and organic part of the community which supports it and is nourished by it in turn.
Mr. Groman, quite frankly, may be frustrated by some of the not-so-well-kept community gardens that he has seen, or those that have run down because the original volunteers have "aged-out" or moved away. This is an unfortunate part of the life-cycle of community gardens that have not fullfilled their mission of community outreach, education and volunteer recruitment.
The team always needs rookies to bring up in the system. There has to be someone to play ball after DiMaggio hangs them up.
This is a large part of my mission these days as my hair thins, and as I have had a strong and clear message of the transitory nature of all volunteers with the death of my wife Allegra. We have to all work at hooking the young 'uns and infecting them with community gardening as the mission
Mr. Groman, if he reads books, needs to get his nose out of seed catalogues for a few evenings and read "Saint" Jane Jacobs', "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." Reprinted in the Modern Library series and costing all of $18.50 in hardcover ( cheaper on Amazon, obviously). On the front of the dust jacket of this edition is Jane Jacobs as I remember her, a white haired old dame with a cigarette in her hand in a West Village gin mill, shooting the sh-t and hitting the target. Sometimes Jane's target was me, and I learned alot from her. I tried to get Jacobs to look at community gardens as a third way type of public space management, but I had trouble getting her out of the Village bars when she visited from Toronto - so it goes. So, I wish I had a quote from Jane Jacobs on community gardens, but that was one of the great lost opportunites - sorry about that kids.
From chapter 5 'The Use of Neighborhood Parks' from the "Death and Life..." first paragraph, and remember, Jacobs wrote this in 1961 - when I was a little kid,
"Conventionally, neigbhorhood parks or parklike open spaces are considered boons, conferred on the deprived populations of cities. Let us turn this thought around, and consider city parks deptrived places that need the boon or life and appreciation conferred on them. This is more nearly in accord with reality, for people do confer use on the parks and make them successes - or else withold use and doom parks to rejection and failure."
Get the book to Mike Groman - and all of us need to read it, and re-read it, because it tells us, "In language Cats and Dogs can understand, " our mission and what we have to do to live in vibrant, viable cities and have the parks and gardens we deserve.
Clinton Community Garden