Years ago, my wife got me hooked on the benefits of gardens when she would drag me out to vacant lots on Saturday mornings, all during her time working with the Charleston Area Children’s Garden Project. Initially, it was nice spending time with my wife and young daughter, but it really wasn’t a weekend jumpstarter I put on the calendar. It was up and out early to meet a few strangers trying to get something to grow on vacant land peppered with weeds and rocks.
Then, after a week or two, it became the highlight of kicking off my weekend. I got to meet and work alongside great people who cared deeply about their neighborhoods and community. Children jumped in so we can plant, water, till, weed and make these gardens a source of healthy produce and pride. Good recipes were shared, and though I still can’t make okra go down, meals sourced from these gardens remain some of the most memorable.
Then there is Ron Finley in “South Los Angeles”. Probably one of the best Ted Talks out there, especially on this subject. Like most work that transforms and makes a difference, it isn’t about meetings and strategic studies, but about people with a vision and a bit of an attitude out there doing something. It can be people who revitalize old buildings, start businesses, mentor kids, or just someone who picks up a shovel and starts to plant some shit.