Monday, March 23, 2009

Build a garden, sow a community.

Saturday was garden day...well, okay, every Saturday lately has been gardening day. But this one was special, I got to help my friend Carolina get her school garden started....

After a stop off at Mission Pie for my coffee fix, I walked down Cesar Chavez towards Harrison street, my destination--Flynn elementary, a progressive immersion school where the walls are covered in murals and kids speaking spanish and english learn to use language together and make peace together. Really, there is a peace square where fighting kids learn to reconcile differences.

My walk took me past La Raza Centro Legal's Women's Collective Day Labor center, an organization run by and for women immigrant workers--where the folding chairs were full of families looking for a days work. An image, a reality of the moment we live in, such a juxtaposition to the day's work of building a garden...

I rounded the corner of Harrison to find gardeners weeding the sidewalk, then I saw parents and kids climbing and shoveling and playing in the mountains of soil and compost that would make this new garden grow. My first task was working with a kindergardner and a second grader to plant some ornamentals in these beautiful planter benches--it was my first time planting with kids--and it was awesome, they were just as excited as me over the discovery of a huge root ball...

Then the energy really started brewing, fueled by music blaring from huge speakers over the garden, parents relished the hard labor of digging and hauling and shoveling while kids danced and played and covered themselves in dirt because this is a garden that has been years in the making....

Despite the fact that Alice Waters was on 60 minutes and Michelle Obama's starting a garden at the White House (YES WE CAN!), school gardens are far from common. They come about because someone has a vision, a parent, a principle, an educator--and they plan and meet and meet and plan and search for funding and a talented coordinator who knows plants and kids and managing projects, and then maybe, maybe you have a garden. And sometimes along the way you find a community...Flynn's well on its way to having a garden, it's evident by the number of families that showed up on Saturday that there's a community there too.

I was really too caught up in it all to take good photos--but here's a few of it all taking shape.


Don't mess with Edna. She's freakishly strong....ARG.


I can't wait to go back and see this garden grow...

2 comments:

Irvine Creek said...

I've been to schools talking about organics and alternative food systems, and I've started 'Go Green' clubs at different schools in my area (southern ontario), and I'm always amazed by how _resistant_ teachers and parents can be about turning concrete/edges of playing fields into gardens, something I try to push on all the schools I visit.

This garden you show here looks beautiful! Please post more pics as she grows! Those kids are in for a wild ride!

aroo said...

Awesome--thanks!