Creating Community in a Community Garden


Young Woman Showing Community Garden

Photos by Cameron J. Taylor

Today as I was masked and gloved, working away in the community garden, I noticed my own inner urge to chat with the gardener in the plot behind me. Under normal circumstances — ya know, back in January — I wouldn’t hesitate to walk over, shake his hand, and have a less than socially distanced chat. But things are different now.

You don’t know if you’ll offend someone by trying to talk to them. You don’t know if they’re overly comfortable with the situation and if you’ll have to tell them to stand back a bit. I decided to stop over thinking it and I struck up a conversation. We talked about how great his plot is starting to look after only being there for 3 months. The crinkle in the corner of his eyes told me he was happy to have a break in the stifled humid air of an oncoming Texas storm.

We talked about peppers, how great cedar mulch is, and how I ended up with the biggest tomato plants in the garden. The conversation so naturally flowed even with the distance, and finally I felt a twinge of human contact coming back into my time at the community garden.

I started thinking exactly how do you go about rebuilding a sense of community at the community garden during a pandemic?

Varied, Vital Roles of a Community Garden

Community gardens are not a new concept. However, I did not understand how incredibly much I’d learn from my fellow gardeners. I had no idea how nice everyone would be and how much free produce I’d be offered just because “I planted too much”. I’ve mostly learned about gardening from YouTube. But then after succumbing to the fact that it would be a number of years more before I was going to have a backyard garden, I found my community garden.

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