Cooperate or Compete?
February 25, 2012, 9:38 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

In 2008 I started a community garden, known as The Carver Peace Gardens,  in downtown Johnson City. It was begun as my contribution to the TN Master Gardener program, but has become part of ‘who I am’ now.  🙂  The 2012 garden Steering Committee met for the first time last night, and after sharing a potluck meal of vegetarian soup, homemade yeast rolls with ham slices and a big bowl of freshly harvested salad greens we got down to the business at hand of coordinating and steering this project through a successful upcoming gardening season. We talked of tool sheds and security, of  compost and training, and everything in between. The best part though was the feeling of community and sharing that we all felt. We each left that 3 hour meeting with more ‘to-do’s’ than we came with, but by delegating and splitting up the tasks, none of us feel overwhelmed, but instead  feel that we’re at least starting this new year on top of things. It’s been a long time coming for me, this sense of ‘us-ness’ rather than ‘just me-ness’ and I am soo ready to share the joys and concerns of this garden. The committee members are caring, BUSY people who have their own plots in our 20-plot space, but they’re eager to put the emphasis on ‘unity’ in ‘community garden’ and are willing to help make that a reality, rather than just a trendy idea.

Planting the Peace Pole at the garden entrance

“Community is, essentially, the opposite of Consumerism, the core belief for modern society. Consumerism is concerned with the acquisition of material goods by economic competition. Community is concerned with the development of positive relationships in a cooperative manner. It means Caring – both for the present and future inhabitants of the planet. It implies a just sharing of world resources. At its core is the principle of Cooperation, while the core of consumerism is competition.” ~ (from the Community Solutions website) I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather cooperate than compete. It’s lots more fun!

I’ll  be sharing some of the plans  for the 2012 season on this blog once plans are finalized; I want you to know that since this really is a community garden, with several plot owners contributing all of part of their harvests to local food pantries and  soup kitchens or working to simply keep fresh, healthy food on the table for  their own hungry families, you are welcome to come and help whenever and however you feel so called. We’ll be offering classes, hands on training and mentoring throughout the season and hope you will join in the fun!  The Tree Streets Community Garden is entering their second growing season soon, as is Harvest of Hope Community Garden in Kingsport. I’m encouraged by the spreading of this new/old concept of growing food. I love everything about community gardens, and hope they eventually are found in every city park and vacant lot in the country. Wouldn’t that be something? During World War II, 40% of the fresh produce that was eaten in this country was raised in backyard ‘Victory Gardens’! That’s an amazing figure and one that we can easily duplicate today by gardening in community. The pictures below are just two of many plots in the Carver Peace Gardens. Come have a look! We’re at 322 W Watauga Ave, a block behind The Down Home listening room.

Squash, beans and tomatoes look great!

One of many beautiful food plots


4 Comments so far
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That is so cool Sam! I wish we could get something like that going here….maybe one day.

Comment by Cassa

Sam! Thank you for this! Thank you for the garden, the blog, your advocacy for transitioning our community! I linked to you on my blog http://www.shuckandjive.org

Comment by johnshuck

um, you’re welcome John, but really, I should be thanking you for all you do too. It’s all interconnected.

Comment by simpleintn

You’re amazing–a real inspiration!

Comment by Sandy Aldridge

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