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RE: ACGA seeks supporting docs re gardens & 911 therapy

  • Subject: RE: [cg] ACGA seeks supporting docs re gardens & 911 therapy
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 13:45:47 -0500


You can probably find my post on the "Illuminating the Heroes Fireman's
Benefit concert that the Clinton Community Garden ran on September 22nd in
the September Mallorn CG archive.  If you don't have it, I'll resend it to
you. Currently I'm working with a WTC volunteer supply organization during
my lunch hours, but that's not gardening. 

Here's a  WTC gardening  experience that I'd like to share with you that I
hope is useful:

This morning I received a received a client package from a bike
messenger/community gardener friend, who laughs every time he sees me in
"corporate drag,"i.e., a tie. He threatens to rat me out. every time, but
the secret is out now.  We need the joke: a large number of our friends,
gardener/bike messengers all, were making deliveries in the WTC when the
planes hit.  Most didn't make it out and it hurts, real bad. 

You won't see it in the papers but hundreds of  community gardeners here
contributed shovels, gloves and their  backs in the "bucket brigades" during
the early hours of the digging. No biggie, considering the situation, but
again  it's part of the  community gardener's "skill set," working together
for the community while  digging.

The office that I work in was closed from Sept 12 - 14 being in a closed off
area. Yes, I saw the second plane hit, collected blood donors: delivered 60+
O positives and negatives to a blood bank, helped out of town families get
into WTC relative's apartments ( I'm a block ass'n president) to begin their
searches, get DNA samples and ultimately get death certificates ( did this
10 times) from Pier 94 near our block. In my wife's hospital, I took a shift
babysitting kids rescued from the WTC daycare center until relatives showed
to pick them up. Many hugs, many tears and so many folks did far, far more
than I did. Many our community gardeners worked with the firemen and rescue
workers at ground zero, shifting debris bucket by bucket in the early days.

 A scant half mile away from ground zero, we won't be able to void the sight
of spiraling smoke above the 16 acre World Trade Center site....

I've been thanking co-workers and friends  at work and from around the
country for their support of the Clinton Community Garden's Fireman's
benefit concert last September, one of several fundraisers and memorial
services that have been held in community gardens across the continent.  In
Seattle, gardeners are composting tons of flowers from memorials to become a
9-11 garden, in St. Louis, a grove of fruit and nut trees will become a
living memorial dedicated to feeding the hungry and thus and thus  across
the US and Canada. When the call goes out for "Victory Gardens", we'll be
there.  After all, ACGA community gardeners have been doing it all along.

  Working closer to ground zero are former ACGA board members Tessa Huxley
(whose heroic work cleaning up the Battery Park City gardens has been shown
in magazines like "Vanity Fair") and  Lenny Librizzi of the Council for the
Environment, who just a couple of days worked with local high school kids to
honor Greenwich Village and Tribeca firemen and police who were lost by
helping their families and friends to plant memorial trees and bulbs during
a 9/11 ceremony at our "City-As-School". ACGA Vice President, Gerald
Lordahl, also of the Council for the Environment and NYC Parks Greenthumb
Community Garden Director Edie Stone, also of the ACGA board, have been
working hard here, to make sure that the green center of our city, all so
necessary and precious to all of us now, holds. 

On Thursday September thirteenth, I knew that I needed to be in the Clinton
Community Garden, be there to talk to folks, garden, to let people in to sit
on our benches and just "recreate".  The Clinton Community Garden serves an
area between 34th & 59th Streets in Manhattan, between 8th avenue and the
Hudson river. This area, Hell's Kitchen, has 70,000 souls. The garden has
2,500 key holders who come relax, enjoy the lawn , our beehive , native
American bed, a lawn, benches and the beauty of a 25 year old community

I left the gate open and tended my volunteer bed of dahlias, hollyhocks,
clematis, cleomes, mumms etc and made myself available to anyone who needed
to talk ( I used to be a bartender before I was an editor). Other garden
volunteers showed and instinctually did the same thing that I did. What we
did, was as therapeutic to us ( the act of gardening -  a slow, normal,
creative act) as it was to the folks who decided to sit on the grass, sit on
the benches, etc. 

Particualarly noteworthy was the visit of an EMS worker who was released
from hosital with an arm in a cast, walking with a cane. Looking at the
dahlias on the bench next to my bed, he related to me the now familiar story
of how folks trapped on the highest floors chose to jump, hand-in-hand to
their deaths. Yes he had that 1000 yard stare, yes he needed to talk. He was
able to talk to me, tending my dahlias, watching the sun set through our
magnolia tree.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman 

-----Original Message-----
From: Kerr, Thomas J. [mailto:KerrT@missouri.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 12:22 PM
To: 'ACGA Community Gardens List'; 'Community Food Security Coalition'
Subject: [cg] ACGA seeks supporting docs re gardens & 911 therapy


The American Community Gardening Association's Development Committee is
searching for supporting documents (news clippings, file photos, radio
segments, factual annecdotes, research papers) to show where gardens have
benefitted people in the recent month. 

Immediately following the September 11 disasters, untold numbers of people
experienced a variety of psychological pressure, including post-tramatic
shock. Some have not fully recovered as war-anxiety replaces attack-anxiety.

However, many have sought refuge from the calamity and stresses by visiting
gardens. Flower gardens, community gardens, and nature reserves.  

I'm looking for reports to help document gardens as part of a national
necessity in response to terrorism and the aftermath, war. The ACGA
Development Committee hopes to use such information to demonstrate public
need for sanctuary during times of disaster, crisis, and violence, as well
as the other uses food and flower gardens provide during less drastic times.

If you have a citation from a media source, an annecdote, or someone I might
talk to, please share by replying direct to kerrt@missouri.edu

Thank you,
Tom Kerr
Develepment Committee,
American Community Gardening Association

Food Circles Networking Project - Kansas City
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension
2700 E. 18th Street, Suite 240
Kansas City, MO 64127
tel: (816) 482-5888
fax: (816) 482-5880 

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