Beyond Community Gardens – start a revolution!

— Andy Wade —

harvestCreating a Faith-Based Community Garden, is one of our top free resources. Community gardens are all the rage. But what if there was more to it than producing food? What if we thought outside the garden box? That’s exactly what a small group of people in England did. No strategy document, no reports, just a small group of people with a great idea to transform their community.

In the TED Salon Talk below, Pam Warhurst outlines what her group did to create real change in their community and how this simple idea is sparking a revolution. The foundation of her little group’s plan was not just about producing food but rather whole community transformation. She asks us to imagine our community as three plates:

  1. A community plate: The way we live our everyday lives.
  2. A learning plate: What we teach our kids in school and what new skills we share among ourselves.
  3. A business plate: What we do with the money in our pocket and what businesses we choose to support.

Warhurst then invites us to see those three plates set in motion by community actions around food.

every.egg.mattersWhat inspires me about this vision is that it’s not just for gardeners. This is a vision that is all inclusive. In fact, she goes so far as to say that the only requirement for being part of this movement is that you eat. Food is central to who we are and yet we’ve distanced ourselves from how, where, and by whom our food is grown. We’ve lost touch with one of our most basic aspects of living. Food has been pushed to the periphery of our imaginations, only brought back to center by ads for fast food and culinary excess.

But what would happen if shrubs around our public buildings were replaced by fruit trees and edible plants? What would happen if we replaced parking strips with gardens? What would happen if we moved food back to the center of our communities by turning grass, planter boxes, and landscaping into an edible paradise with food free for the taking? How would this affect how we see food? How would this change our perceptions of community and sharing?

No doubt, you’ll face skeptics. But Warhurst reminds us:

…most importantly of all, we are not daunted by the sophisticated arguments that say these small actions are meaningless in the face of tomorrow’s problems, because I have seen the power of small actions, and it is awesome! — Pam Warhurst

I’ve shared before about my own experiment in transforming our “private” front yard into a public sun tea and herb garden. Just that little change has opened up new friendships and conversations in our neighborhood. I’m thrilled as I see neighbors going door-to-door sharing excess produce from their own gardens and engaging in real-life conversations. It really doesn’t take much effort, just another, better, vision of what life can be.

Watch the talk below, re-imagine your yard, your neighborhood, your community, and walk into a whole new adventure. Start a revolution!