The poem of the ancient mariner most accurately describes our situation.
We actually have a fire hydrant right next to our garden, but still no answer from the city of Chester for the ability to access the water for our garden. This week, EJ met with the Ruth L. Bennett Tenant’s Association, and both groups agreed that water is our most pressing issue.
However, all of us– EJ, Steve Fischer (Chester Housing Authority), and the residents, have been pushing for water access from the city in one way or another.
I’ve been looking at different types of hoses for our garden — essentially pining for water. None of us want to burden, Louise, the awesome resident that has taken ownership of the garden and watering it during the weekdays, any further than we already have with this water situation. She has to bring pots full of water to water the garden. Thus, if we don’t get the access from the city to use the water, we’ll try to design a rain catcher system (one of our members, Alice, just put one up in a garden on campus).
As water is an essential part of life, it is also an integral part of our gardening experience. Every Saturday workday the kids and one of the EJ members will run water back and forth from their houses. Today, I went into the house of some of the newest members of EJ, some children from above the hill behind the garden. We filled four jugs of water at each run. At least from the water runs, I get to meet the parents of the children working at the garden, and spread get to spread the word of our garden. Every single resident that I have meet have been extremely supportive.
On an even brighter note, Jamie, from Teens4Good, came to the garden this Saturday. She brought along her rototiller and we opened up two more plots. Our five plots that we opened in the summer are all already full of plants that are sprouting (the sunflowers are tall, cantaloupes are sprouting, tomatoes are blooming, etc…). Jamie also thinks that she might swing by during the week and bring some of her workers to open more plots.
Furthermore, I think we’ve been reaching out to more kids by going very consistently to the garden. Today, we actually had Dolores, another resident, Louise, and two children waiting for us before we arrived (though we did get there a bit late). Even so, at the end about 12-14 kids joined our work-day, and most of these kids have been consistently coming. So in official garden business, our group watered the garden, planted some spinach, and opened up new plots. In none official business, we also had a blast having snack time (watermelon for summer), and also doing some arts and crafts (labels for the plants).
Thus, summer has been a very booming time for our garden. Hopefully we will have a conclusive plan for the water issue by next week.
We, unlike the ancient mariner, are full faith that our albatross will help our garden prosper. Carol, the president of the tenant’s council, relayed again her full faith in EJ and the community garden.
Until next week,