Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The sweet little Hamlin Garden will produce its last harvest this year. This little lot -- borrowed three years ago by a young guy with a great idea: Why not turn this derelict patch into a community garden? -- has been sold to a developer.

The real rub? It sold for just $23,000, something the gardeners might have pooled their own resources to buy. Heck, at that price a single gardener might have been able to gift it to the neighborhood for a good long stretch. They say the market may not rebound for 10 years or more. That's a whole lot of eggplant and zucchini.

It's tough not to see the crooked little sign, tucked next to the garden's well-used rain barrel, as a prescient tombstone. It points to one of the real paradoxes of urban agriculture: It's tough to make the most sustainable ideas sustain in the most important way -- in perpetuity.

Someday soon there will be a building on this space. Its foundation will rest in nutrient-rich soil, unharvested seeds, and a city lot that once fed its people -- and I'm talking about dozens of people who came together to turn it green. The hope is that some of those gardeners stick around for a while, preserving the memory of their shared enterprise, even as new folks dig for their keys, open their front door, then shut it again to settle in for the evening.


tracy said...

I wish I had more to say than "This makes me sad." But, damn, it just makes me sad.

leslie said...

I'm with Tracy--I keep trying to come up with a silver lining on this one, but just feel heartsick instead.

Peggy and Jon said...

We've talked about the movie "The Garden", right?

Christy said...

Peggy and Jon, thanks for reminding me of 'The Garden!' We talked about it ages ago but I'll admit I'd forgotten all about it. Mention it repeatedly in Croatia and hopefully it'll stick. I plan to put it at the top of our rentals list.