Community garden… COMMUNITY garden… community GARDEN…
In a wistful afternoon in April, I murmured these words with myself as I approached the garden, each time with the stress on a different word. I had been wondering for a while now who was this community? How do you understand whether you are part of that community or not? How does the trust system work? Is it an implied sense or a spatial factor?
And then I saw the fenced boundary of the site. It was very different with what I imagined it to be. It was more of a suggestion than an imposition. It was friendly and subtle, and at the same time indicated that once you’re inside, you are part of something collaborative.
The spatial characteristics of the fence wasn’t working as a guard but more as a definition or a hedge line. Its ends didn’t meet with another fence and instead it was hanging out by itself. It acted as a metaphor of hope. More like a gesture hoping for an expanded future.
Even the berms that surrounded the community garden were simply informing you of an existence. The existence of a possibility that something is happening on top of the berm behind these colorful benches.
The lock on the shed could easily be opened. It was merely a way of keeping the doors closed and protecting the tools from being damaged and the other stuff inside it from being deteriorated. The list of tasks was mostly a collective effort to keep up with pace of the garden. Everything was shouting: “you can be one of us”, even though no one was in the garden at that time.
Finally, my eyes glanced over to the planting beds within the community garden. I saw small supporting structures that were marking boundaries of plants to be grown out of the soil soon. These fostered a protected platform for each plant to flourish.
Being delighted by this passive sense of inclusion, as I approached the beddings it was very clear to me that there are again boundaries but it was as though, one melted into the other and the soil, air and the rain drops that were feeding these, were uniting them all in their one goal of growing food, fun and friendship!