When Chestnut Hill Local writer Stacia Friedman interviewed us about our efforts to acquire and preserve the Old Tennis Court Farm, she was struck by the way that the garden drew members of a very diverse community.
Over the years it was in operation, we met not only immediate neighbors from the West Chelten and Queen Lane neighborhoods in Germantown and East Falls, but gardeners from East Germantown and Mt. Airy, even Center City and South Philadelphia.
We were different colors and different ages. We had different levels of incomes. Different genders. Different orientations. Some of us wished our jobs didn’t consume so much of our time and energy. Others wished they had a job to go to. We went to different churches—or maybe no church at all. We had different ideas about the world, and vastly different experiences had formed us.
But we had, as it turned out, common ground.
Whether we knew a lot about gardening or were new to dirt, trowels, and weeds, whether we needed to put food on our own tables or hoped to put food on the tables of others, we all wanted to grow that food.
And over each season, as we nurtured our seedlings, prayed for rain, cursed the weeds, and harvested our carrots, kale, zucchini, and beets, we began to find the similarities behind the identity labels that tell such an incomplete story: Our concerns for our aging and ailing parents. Our deep love for our spouses and partners, children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, siblings and friends. Our hopes for this city that is long on potential and always seems just another reach away from meeting it.
We found that you can grow community in a garden.
See Stacia Friedman’s article at http://www.chestnuthilllocal.com/2016/08/04/green-germantown-neighbors-rally-save-urban-farm/
See also our article in the East Falls Local: http://www.eastfallslocal.com/northwest-residents-hope-to-preserve-community-garden/