This story from Garden Rant demonstrates some of the exciting changes to public space in DC. By reclaiming underused space and converting it to an educational art garden, the founders of City Blossoms have given neighborhood children a place to learn, grow, and be active in their communities.
… “Lola [Bloom] and Rebecca [Lemos] lobbied the developer-owner of what was for decades an unused patch of asphalt to donate the space for a garden and – proving that even inner-city landlords have a heart and who could resist these inspiring young women? – he said yes. AND paid to remove the asphalt and create raised the planters. Then all sorts of neighborhood groups stepped up to do the planting, maintaining, and harvesting, proving once again that gardens grow not just plants but community.
I asked Lola and Rebecca if they had anything to say to GardenRant readers and yes, they sure do.
Lola writes, “I think that it is important that we are integrating gardening into children’s lives in a way that is youth-empowering and not just focused on one aspect of gardening. We invite children into these spaces to learn about the obvious themes of food production, become enviro-conscious, and understand scientific concepts but also care for their communities and express their playful personalities and curiosities through creating safe greenspaces that everyone can enjoy and explore. My favorite part of our gardens is that children independently and enthusiastically participate and come up with games as if they were playgrounds. Although we always wish we had more adult volunteers and that we could afford more staff, the fact that the spaces are largely kid-made and maintained is super-important in sustaining them and keeping them relevant to their particular communities.”
I’d like to take a sample from their playbook and begin convincing developers to push some extra space my way.
What would you do if you could remove the asphalt from a useless lot in your neighborhood? What needs are not being met that could be addressed with a little extra space and love?