Restoring connection

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Disconnection runs rampant in our current culture. Though more linked through the Internet and social media, human contact and genuine connection are suffering. Pair that with the disastrous way we treat, handle, produce and sell food, we are then also disconnected from our food source and where it comes from.

The gardens in Folwell and other Northside community gardens are striving to address these needs in our neighborhoods by co-creating growing space that is inventive, beautiful and fruitful — and while we grow food, we also grow a stronger community. These growing spaces in Folwell community gardeners are mindful of the struggles the community bears in hopes that they can provide hope for who we are trying to be: Equitable, inclusive, open, respectful, diverse and strong.

The Penn Ave Garden gardeners celebrated its grand re-opening with this hope in May. More than 30 community members came from all over Folwell to help clean, organize and bring new life to the corner of 36th and Penn. This corner has been the source of deep struggle and violence which was a motivating factor for reinvestment from the community. Neighbors came out and grilled with us, folks came out of their homes to join us and see what was going on, relationships were built, soil was prepared for planting and joy was found. Neighbors that came found joy in tending the earth together side by side, they found joy in building a project that will bring hope and connection to the neighborhood, they found joy in laughing and sharing jokes, painting signs, picking up trash, raking leaves and planting a few seeds.

It was the kind of joy and hope that is born out of coming together to protect the community. The type of coming together that says, “We, the community, get to decide who we are going to be.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our big garden launch lunch and work day! We will be at the Penn Ave Garden every Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and the second Sunday of every month if you want to come. Join the Folwell Neighborhood Facebook group to keep updated on events, or join our mailing list by contacting Dani at danielle@folwell.org.