Sunday, June 28, 2009

What is the 200 Foot Garden Project?

(by Patrick)

In Brookline, between our house and the T stop in Brookline Village, a 3.5 foot high chain-link fence runs along a narrow strip of land between the sidewalk and a parking lot for a neighboring apartment complex. The fence has seen better days, and the the 2 foot-wide strip of ground is often full of various weeds and litter. I have a strong interest in gardening, especially in community gardens (I used to manage two different community gardens in Roxbury, before we moved to Brookline 3 years ago). Lately, I've been reading a lot about vertical gardening, especially in urban settings.

Wouldn't it be interesting to have this 200 foot stretch of fence be more visually interesting, for all the commuters that walk by? And what if, on people's commute, they could help themselves to a vegetable or two?

Last year, when we redid the tiny strip of ground in front of our condo building with our neighbors, a volunteer tomato plant sprouted, probably from a castaway seed from some passerby's sandwich. This tomato grew in a small crack between the sidewalk and our cobblestones. Over the summer, neighbors cared for it, and it grew to produce tomatoes for anyone to take (and they did).

So I came up with an idea, that started to turn into a plan--let's plant vegetables along this entire 200 foot length of fence. It'll be a commuter garden. It can provide a bit of delight to people walking by, and it can remind people that vegetable gardening is something that can be done anywhere, not just in a big yard or community garden plot. The project can also help bring together neighbors, and for the true city folks, it can show them what vegetable plants look like (yes, kids, beans don't just come from the supermarket).

So that's the plan. I came up with the idea back in April, and started trying to get it to happen. Now it looks like it might.

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