So you know of an open lot in your neighborhood that would be perfect for a community garden. You really, really want to build one, but you don’t quite know how to pull it off. Let’s be honest—the idea of pulling off a garden build can be pretty daunting. You need a lot of supplies, possibly some funds, and, ideally a bunch of people to help—unless you feel like devoting the next couple weekends to digging.
You’ve heard of barn raising, right? That old tradition of collective community action in which the whole community used to gather together to build a barn for their neighbor. At thrdPlace, a newly-launched local platform for social action, we’re bringing it back by tapping online community to drive on the ground action.
So, think barn raising and replace it with… community gardens, mural creation, or art pop-ups. We help get the word out and recruit people to get involved by sharing the story of your project through the social networks of each person who comes to your project page and clicks to support your project.
What does this look like in real time? This past weekend we helped the Social Justice Learning Institute, a local Los Angeles nonprofit “dedicated to improving the education, health, and well being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training, and community mobilization,” to organize and execute 10 backyard gardens at South L.A. homes as part of their 10 Homes–10 Seeds initiative.
Over 80 community members came together to build 10 community gardens all within a couple hours on Saturday. D’Artagnan Scorza who leads SJLI and created the garden build initiative, shared his experience:
thrdPlace helps us involve and engage our residents in the process. It allows us to generate the type of resources needed by helping find volunteers, funds, and supplies. Not everyone in our community can always give dollars, but they may be able to come out and till the land; they may be able to bring out a shovel or two.
What it ultimately does for us as an organization is facilitate resident empowerment. Residents can connect to each other, find projects, and raise the resources needed, to achieve their goals and pull together as a community to build what they need. As a result we’re able to reach for projects that are larger in scope like pulling off 10 community garden builds in one day.
- 10 Most Awesome Guerrilla Gardens from Around the World (organizationandsocialchange.wordpress.com)
- “Growing Your Own Food is Like Printing Your Own Money” (freshecology.wordpress.com)