2022- Rethinking Community Gardening

Welcome to 2022! We are so grateful for the progress we made in 2021 and excited about our momentum going into the new year. While many aspects of life have been difficult over the last 2 years, our hyper-local network of agriculturally-minded neighbors has been thriving. Despite many logistical challenges, the AGA has grown exponentially in numbers and engagement. Our little neighborhood group of gardeners we started in 2014 has become a force for a more sustainable Avondale. Neighbors have shared a staggering amount of seeds, seedlings, knowledge, skills, and support. We should all be proud of the community we are creating!

In 2021 we took the skills we learned in 2020, adapted them to an ever-changing risk-assessment landscape, and continued to provide opportunities for neighbors to engage with each other around urban agriculture. Some events had to be adapted at the last minute. Sometimes appropriate venues were really hard to find. But we neighbors persevered and produced dozens of events with more engagement than ever. The Gardening and Agricultural Fair was back this year and was even more fun despite its logistical challenges. We learned that somehow, AGA bingo makes the world go round. And most importantly, we saw our network of support grow stronger as community members became neighbors, and neighbors became friends.

In 2022 the AGA will continue to grow our network with a number of exciting projects meant to redefine the meaning of “community gardening.” Community gardening shouldn’t be relegated to solo gardening of small plots in scarce lots. Community gardening becomes infinitely impactful when it represents neighbors gardening with and for their community. We work with our Mutual Aid Society and Community Dinners to help more of our neighbors have access to healthy, local produce. We are partnered with Linne and Reilly Elementaries to help bring sustainable agriculture practices to our schools, including community chickens at Linne. At the Mindful Living Garden, together we provide a healthy green space and food for our community. There are endless opportunities to engage in community gardening with the AGA.

In 2021 we learned that the good we do by bringing more green space to our neighborhood and increasing positive engagement between neighbors creates broader positive change than we realized. I hope you will start 2022 by joining us via zoom on Monday, January 24th at 5:30 pm for a discussion of Eric Klinenberg’s book Palaces for the People, that brings solid research to the fact that our fun AGA events and your community engagement create a safer and healthier Avondale.

So get involved! Come learn with us. Come teach us. The AGA can use any and all skills: seed saving, social media outreach, grant writing, project management, graphic design, physical labor, data management, bilingual skills, research, agriculture skills, seed starters, writers, team leaders, and literally everything else. Introvert or extrovert, you can make a difference in your community outside with a megaphone or in front of your computer. You are an important part of our community and we need you.

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