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RE: fences and neighbors/multicultural veggies

  • Subject: RE: [cg] fences and neighbors/multicultural veggies
  • From: Fred Conrad fred.conrad@acfb.org
  • Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 13:44:36 -0400

glad to hear from an unfenced community gardener.  maybe it's a southern
thing, but here in Atlanta some of the nicest community gardens are unfenced
or unlocked (as in a low, decorative fence only).  Scott Park, Oakhurst,
Mason Mill, Mulberry Field, Boulevard, Piedmont Park, Tobie Grant, Carver,
Bush Mountain, etc etc etc.  the ones in the Housing Authority communities
are wide open - with hundreds of windows overlooking them for security.

a short story:  the City Center Community Garden was large, open, weedy,
fabulous, with two really hard-core gardeners and a couple middling
gardeners and a couple lay-abouts.  three years the garden has no problem
other than occasional assaults by bored kids.  then one day we start getting
raided systematically and on a massive scale.  we always harvest on fridays
for the saturday market and these folks were hitting us regularly on
thursday night.  when we caught them it was zany - seven old ladies with
five-gallon buckets, grocery bags and shopping carts.  when confronted they
were very unpleasant and in angry and unrepentant voices declared "i thought
this was a COMMUNITY garden, i thought this was for the COMMUNITY!"  of
course they knew better, and they were taking more than could be for
personal use.  confronting them didn't stop it, so we did end up with an
ugly fence.  to stop seven old ladies.  which it did.  at great expense.
and great loss of a sense of freedom, openness and love.

my theory is that it took them three years to talk themselves into a sense
of entitlement.  three years of coveting.

on a totally different subject, today i was at the Dunbar Nieghborhood
Center garden and i found a bag of pot with cigar butts in it.  anybody know
what the cigar butts are for?  not large enough for rolling purposes.
disguise the odor?

one more comment and sorry for the long message.  at the Capitol View
Community Garden we eventually decided on a policy of NOT growing
beans/stuff on the fence because it grew so thick you couldn't see into the
garden any longer and people began to drop trash around and treat it like a
vacant lot again.

Fred Conrad 
Community Garden Coordinator 
Atlanta Community Food Bank 
970 Jefferson Street, Atlanta, GA 30318 
ph: 404.892.FEED ext 216 fx: 404.892.4026 
fred.conrad@acfb.org    www.acfb.org
Our mission is to fight hunger by engaging, educating and empowering our

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Boekelheide [mailto:dboekelheide@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 12:56 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] fences and neighbors/multicultural veggies

A few suggestions - If you have a fence, grow
something on it (cukes, 'maters, roses, lablab
beans...) and grow flowers along it to soften the
look. Don't assume chainlink is the only choice,
consider varied fencing materials, including recycled
wood or stone, or a living fence. Make a nice looking
gate. And use eco-psychology. Charles Long in _How to
survive without a salary_ has a funny story about how
a ripe pile of manure ended problems with kids fooling
around in his urban garden, after a perp put his foot
in it. Tell stories - there might be some snakes in
that compost pile, you never know...

Good luck. Fences have their pros and cons, but they
represent a big budget item, too.

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte, NC

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