It started out with a team of 5 young girls who have never grown any food before.
With a seed in one hand and ambition in the other to create a safe, utilitarian space for residents to gather and promote interconnectedness, we were motivated to discover what we could do to transform an under-utilized area into a place that stimulates growth, connection, and sharing both food and experiences.
From a local community garden in Windsor, the Ford City Community Garden, we learned that food can act as catalyst for furthering social relations in any given area.
The sense of community and increased engagement of neighbours emerged from something as simple as a tomato plant. This inspired me to work with a number of other young adults to create a similar garden in East Windsor, called Together We Flourish.
Food has an unprecedented power of uniting everyone – it is an element that everyone can relate to: Humans rely on food to fuel their days.
Thus, the community garden at Together We Flourish serves as a to not only growing produce, but stirring personal development and growth in people. Along with sharing food comes the sharing of personal narratives and experiences. From this, it is our vital hope that this will encourage social interdependence.
We have come a long way, and had real struggles. In addition to not having prior knowledge of growing food, the lack of monetary support provided to the garden was a significant barrier to achieving our goals. We analyzed our situation and made funny and engaging vlogs documenting our strategic methods of getting things done without proper tools.
It was clear that ambition alone was not enough to get things done. We have networked with community garden collectives as well as with interested private citizens in an effort to educate ourselves and determine improvements and identify opportunities for growth.
Nearing the end of our third summer, we are now exploring other ways of pushing our vision forward: “to strengthen the sense of community and interconnectedness between all Windsorites through collaborative projects and initiatives. We want to help Windsorites live happier and healthier lives through engaging youth and providing the public with unique activities while growing together – in numerous ways”
The aspiration of making the garden a safe public place for community building has led to the establishment of a new project being hosted at the garden called Breaking Barriers.
It’s not just a veggie garden – it never was. Our prime focus has always been about to eliminating social barriers to inclusion that prevent individuals, particularly youth, from reaching their potential and maximizing their community involvement.
This article was originally featured on Greening Sacred Spaces in September 2015.