Garden Preservation

8BC Garden

Bulldozed January 17,1996!




The ABC Garden/Jardin, located on 308-309 East 8th Street, was founded in 1990. There are currently seventy-plus members, not including families and friends, and 61 individual plots.

The garden has served an estimated 800 people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, including many children. The breakdown is roughly 30% Latino, 60%, White and 10% other (Black, Asian, etc...).

The plants, flowers, vegetables and animal species in the garden include: tomatoes; beans; eggplant; cantaloup; roses; grapes; cedar trees;; peach trees; apple trees; crab apple trees; plum trees; grass; pine trees; willow trees; sunflowers (lots of these); peppers; various herbs; cosmos; tulips; asters; mock orange bush; morning glories; black-eyed susan; succulents of many varieties; etc...).

Our garden was given to us on a temporary basis. I feel what we have achieved in four years is remarkable. It is a "dream garden". We the gardeners want to use the space for as long as absolutely possible, and we proved it in spring of 1995 by stopping a film company from wrecking it to make a movie set. We would love to keep the garden and expand its accessibility to the community.

My own personal experience with the garden has been that it allowed me to learn about gardening, plants and working as a group-to such an extent that I am now a professional gardener and community organizer/teacher. Prior to my experiences at ABC garden, I knew little about these things. My son has taken an interest in animals and is very interested in the insects that live in that garden. He has grown up with it and it is a shame that he hears nothing except how the garden will be destroyed now. This discourages him immensely, so it is difficult for me to get him to visit there anymore.

The garden is a sacred place, it is inappropriate to sell them because it is much like selling one's own mother, house, or like selling an old church or synagogue.

So much personal, community and cultural expression is involved in the community garden that it seems like they should be preserved as well as encouraged. Our neighborhood parks are crowed. WE NEED OUR GARDEN.

We have one or two whole garden potlucks each year. We had a wedding, a memorial service and many children's birthday parties. We participate in the Rites of Spring Pageant. I've taken three groups of teens in work/study programs to study plants and learn how to start a garden, we've had a nursery school group come to garden on a regular basis in the past. We've had junior high kids in after school arts program visit and study the garden and we've had a group of senior citizens who were starting their own garden visit.

Our garden started to create a stable situation for the lot on which it stands. A bon fire burning out of control prompted the city to give the community permission to start a community garden, through plans for building were in place for the future. Green Thumb was involved with helping us start out. the community cleared the lot and lined up sanitation department pick-ups. Green Guerillas donated seeds, though most plants were purchased by surrounding residents, some donations were made through our garden.

Our garden has put people of different races and socio-economic status together and has allowed us to develop long standing relationships. We have together created a place of natural beauty and a place to express oneself or one's culture. The block has been renovated since the garden's beginnings. The garden lot was previously crime infested and was unsanitary. Now young children can dig in the ground on the same lot and look for bugs. Teens, children, and senior citizens study our garden-its politics and its plant life.

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