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In response to 3 messages

  • Subject: [cg] In response to 3 messages
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 16:05:56 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, everyone,

Oh, well, a nasty lagging storm washed away my 'model'
garden bed in that new community garden up in
Cornelius NC. Looks like I'll be replanting this
weekend, with a 'slight' change in orientation to my
rows. And yet, the garden is doing OK, I keep meeting
folks out there having the time of their lives... 

I'd like to comment on all 3 posts from yesterday.

Welcome back, Elizabeth Succop. Where did you serve (I
was in Togo)? Elizabeth's job hunt raises some
questions I've become interested in recently -

How many of us make our livelihoods from community
gardening or a related area? For instance, working as
a USDA urban extension agent, or working for a
non-profit agency that supports community gardening? I
guess no one 'works for ACGA' (though, as one of the
applicants to edit the annual publication, I've found
that we do pay someone to do that. By the way, good
news - last I heard, there was more than one
applicant! Not the Cal. recall, but hey. Remember,
all, you've got until Oct. 3 to put your straw hat in
the ring...) Right now, Anna Wasescha does our
newsletter 'The Community Gardener' gratis, and does a
beautiful job, just as Adam Honigman keeps this
fantastic website in good shape, playing real good for
free). My guess is that nobody gets rich off community
gardening. I do wonder where the wages come from -
USDA, cities, grants...???

Second musing - How many of us who make a full or
part-time income from working for community gardening
(which I think is very valuable and honorable work,
btw) also belong to a community garden in our own
neighborhood? Is (isn't?) that a tremendously helpful
thing to do? I'm 2 years into working to set up a
garden in my own neighborhood, and it isn't easy! We
lost our hoped for site beside a Quaker church, and
now we are out looking again...

Anyway, good luck, Elizabeth. I commend your choice to
choose a path of right livelihood, and, one way or
another, hope you find your way to a garden. And good
luck with the reverse culture shock, it can be a
doozy. We have a returned PCV group in Charlotte, you
might want to look one up where you live.

Meanwhile, I was very much saddened to hear about 
Rincon Criolo. While I personally thought Alan Feuer's
article was quite well done and saw no painful
neo-colonialism in it, Carlos, I agree it is very
painful to hear of the threat to this wonderful garden
from what amounts to another incarnation of urban
renewal. We lost a community garden here in Charlotte
a few years back, and we don't have all that many yet,
to a proposed Habitat for Humanity project. There
seemed to be no way to stop the process. Worse, in the
end, the Habitat house was never built! 

These problems are complex, but certainly part of the
challenge is widespread and growing cultural
ignorance, at least in the US, about the value of
growing food, working as a community and sharing the
commons with our neighbors. We cannot take it for
granted, can we, that others will see the benefits of
community gardens that are so clear to us? 

Carlos, I don't think the writer was trying to excuse
or condone the anti-garden attitude of Nos Quedamos,
but simply trying to accurately reflect their
point-of-view. All of us who support community
gardening face the task not only of convincing our
political adversaries but also, at times, educating
our friends and allies. Buena suerte, Carlos, and I
have sent an email in support of the garden to the
people you suggest.

That said, those were inspiring words from Hope
Coulter. Our cause may be built from a vacant lot here
and a corner of a park there, but the larger issues we
address are truly global in their impact.

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte, NC

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