The prison garden project developed by Catherine Sneed as a horticulture program intended to offer the prisoners opportunities to do more meaningful work and through it transform them creates an ambiguous relationship between people and plants. This was out of her empathy for the poor and disenfranchised prisoners whom she worked with as a counselor. Organic techniques were used in the garden as a metaphor for the inmate’s struggles (Pudup, 2008). By the prisoners tilling the land organically, they signify the way plants grow as well as flourish without the use of any chemical substance and this technique is also applicable to their lives as well. This garden project was successful as there were evidenced reductions in the recidivism rates and also many other members were reluctant about leaving the program once their term as prisoners ended. The prison garden project showed how people like plants tend to grow as well as flourish when they received care and nourishment. Gardening was a way of nurturing. The people plant relationship offers more where it has an external dimension in developing an internal capacity of the people that call for change (Pudup, 2008). This, therefore, served as a way of encouraging transformation through prison community gardening.
A community garden is developed in times of crisis that could be social as well as economic that places a significant effect on the cultural framework. This acts as a buffering system for the society members during stressful times (Nettle, 2016). These community gardens are designed to help support the society members in the social order as they accommodate and deal with the changes. For instance, specific events such as war emergencies or economic crisis have put an emphasis on the subsistence production (Pollak, 2006). These gardens become a preferred antidote when a community is faced with contemporary social problems. Physical outdoor activities are promoted thereby supporting the public health efforts in aiding the community’s wellbeing. The gardens also serve as a means to reconnect the alienated children who are at risk and through nature contribute to many social and individual benefits (Spilsbury, 2015). Community gardens, therefore, serve as a common source of empowerment and create venues for building on social capital and also community organization.
The school garden developed mainly for installing a love for nature and also create respect for rural agricultural values was due to the rapid urban industrialization. This created an attempt to reconnect the children to the food production process. The creation of the Edible School Yard enables the kids to learn about the cycle of food production by preparing beds, planting seeds and also seedlings, nurturing crops and harvesting as well. The harvest is used by the children as a part of the seasonal recipes in the kitchen. Through such activities, community minded conversations are fostered, and clean-up is shared. The refuse from the harvest is used to make compost thereby enriching the soil preparing it for the next season’s plantings. This leanings are associated with the children’s science and also other humanities curricula by encouraging the concepts of community, diversity, networks, responsibilities, sustainability, cycles, systems and also flows. Conversations also are directed to remain focused and therefore not digress into private conversations helping in the students learning process (Pudup, 2008). The garden represents a type of managed ecosystem where they directly observe and therefore gain an understanding of the cycles (Nettle, 2016). Through the students work in these gardens they experience the webs of relationships in a natural and social manner. This school garden attempts to incorporate community mindedness by emphasizing on connectedness and community building.
- Nettle, C. (2016). Community gardening as social action (1st ed.). London: Routledge.
- Pollak, B. (2006). Our community garden (1st ed.). Hillsboro, Or.: Beyond Words Pub.
- Pudup, M. (2008). It takes a garden: Cultivating citizen-subjects in organized garden projects (1st ed.).
- Spilsbury, L. (2015). How Community Gardens Work (1st ed.). London: Hachette Children’s Group.