On the college campus that I work, has always had a community garden dating back twenty plus years. However, it was not until about two years ago that major institutionally planned construction brought it to the forefront of everyone’s attention. And in what can only be likened to a communications diaster, they sought out to get rid of it in order to make room for all things; a parking lot. This brought both neighborhood and campus communities together in a ditch effort to save the garden. News of the proposed garden paving began making headlines around NYC in the NY Post, NY Times and other major news publications/networks.The eventual conclusion is that with concessions on both sides – the garden would be saved. A prominent college dean and professor was named community garden director and the revitalization efforts begun.
Those involved were determined to make the garden more organized and productive than ever before. It began with composting campus grass clippings, non-meat, chemical or oil based kitchen scraps and fall foliage. The overall campus is truly a thing of beauty in all seasons with mature trees, a pond and so many rare species as to warrant an official extension of the Brooklyn Botanical gardens. Over the course of many months a rich store of organic material was ready for the 2012 spring, summer and even fall gardening season. It was finally time for planting and how I stumbled into what will surely be a life long hobby. I would also argue a valuable skill, never underestimate the ability to feed ones self as well as others, be it in an urban setting or otherwise.
One particularly long spring day, while walking to my car after work – I noticed two people doing some gardening chores in what has been a mostly inactive campus green space. I had of course heard the rumblings surrounding the efforts to save the garden, but did not have any direct interactions. I was curious to see people once again cultivating life there, so I detoured from my car and decided to check out what was going on. It was my first encounter with our wonderful community garden coordinator/teacher and in what I could only guess at that point a German accent, as she welcomed me. I was given a short tour and provided some answers to my preliminary questions. It had been a long day, steady in it’s relentless pursuit of presented problems and work needing to be done. It had been a year of sweeping congressionally authorized federal regulatory changes and the tasks of direct implementation was taking its toll. I sat on a bench with a rare occasion of exposed soil below my feet and as a warm late spring breeze rolled over my face I knew this place would be a source of happiness for me. I sent an email as instructed, expressed my interest and was assigned plot number 7 and so it began; a gardening season of faith’s perfection. A garden that was almost never there for me to realize the deep need I had to grow something in it.
The next day I stopped by to inspect my assigned plot and was happy to see I had inherited some weeds, but some tomato plants as well. A happy surprise incubated in our compost from unintended kitchen scrap seeds. I, immediately began imaging all the gardening possibilities I could fill within this rectangular shape of earth.
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