Add to My MSN

An Organic Community Transformation

2/10/2010 4:05:28 PM

Tags: Environment, green living, gardening, community, community building, urban landscape, neighborhoods, gardens, Toronto, Joe Clement, Spacing, Julie Hanus

peapodsWriting for Toronto’s Spacing, Joe Clement shares a genuine community-building super story: the organic transformation of the city street he grew up on into a robust gardening district. Clement himself got the ball rolling. As a young gardener who quickly “outgrew” his parents’ yard, he began asking neighbors if he could help them convert their front lawns into cultivated spaces. What happened over the next 20 years ought to inspire novice and pro gardeners alike—anyone planning on putting seeds in soil this spring:

Slowly but surely more and more neighbors began relinquishing their prized turfs in exchange for a garden, and that’s when something very interesting began to happen. The neighbors began interacting with each other beyond the perfunctory hello and goodbye while coming and leaving. The gardens were acting as social facilitators, bringing people out of their homes to tend to their yards and discuss gardening tips and strategies for expansion or plant sharing.

These conversations continued and expanded into broader social interactions. Soon neighbours were helping each other tear up their lawns, till the soil, and reconfigure their yards for both flower and produce production. Many of the not-yet-converted yards began sprouting carrots and corn and eggplant along with the foxgloves and dahlias.

Boulevard stripes were tilled and converted to gardens, making room for more vegetables. The neighbors are now tackling the backyards of homes rented to college students and converting them into productive gardens. Thanks to the dedicated work of several residents in particular, and the support of the rest, this street now produces enough organic produce to supply the Sorauren Farmers’ Market on a bimonthly basis.

Source: Spacing (article not available online)

Image by Mzelle Biscotte, licensed under Creative Commons.



Related Content

Building Design for the Birds

One hundred million birds are killed each year in the United States by collisions with buildings, th...

Artists Resurrect a Run-Down River Town

From Buffalo to Louisville, St. Louis to Memphis, river towns tend to share a common vibe, carved ou...

A Recipe for Community

A sense of community is key to both individual fulfillment and social change, but in our hyper-indiv...

Revitalizing Downtown with a Bucket of Yellow Paint(2)

Amidst this era of budget crunches, cities that want to revitalize their downtown districts can’t dr...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!