Bright, hot, cloudy, rainy, spring, summer, and fall I had the pleasure of teaching and co-teaching workshops in a neighborhood garden. The Green Acres Neighborhood Garden. It was a sweet and nourishing experience.
Together, Nathan Harman and I, led participants through the work that needed to be done to plant and improve and harvest and tend the GANG. The garden was set up by an amazing woman, Ann Kreilkamp; and was tended this past year by children after school, by retired neighbors, and by interns and students from Indiana University.
Last year the garden was set up by Keith Johnson, longtime permaculture educator and gardener, who taught a series of workshops with the garden as laboratory. This year, Nathan and I came in and worked to improve the soil, tweak the original design, and bring the space more to life. The thing that surprised me most was the rhythm of working with the participants throughout the year. Used to my own garden’s rhythms and doing the work alone, it was a real joy to come together with others (always a slightly different group) to accomplish so much in such little time.
The concept of the neighborhood garden is a worthy one. My hope is that all of the neighborhoods in my community (and communities everywhere) develop them and use them to increase food security and community life. Imagine a city of neighborhood gardens that acted as focal points for educating and experimenting and celebrating together. And that the participants then went home to their own gardens and put what they learned into practice. As I prep my garden beds for winter and sit down with a cup of tea, I’m holding in mind the last workshop: the chatter, celebration, exchange, connection, and appreciation we all shared.
For more on the last workshop and the Green Acres Neighborhood Garden, visit Ann’s blog about it: http://tendrepress.com/2010/11/2010-gang-workshop-6-putting-the-garden-to-bed-and-potluck-celebration/