As every Executive Director finds out at some point, events don’t always go as planned, even when the best of intentions are set forward. Recently Growing Change tried to facilitate a new community garden between a youth group and a retirement community.The idea was for the exchange of knowledge to occur between young and older. Together they could work side by side to create a garden that was accessible by a community of retirees, some of whom are quite disabled. Currently this 55+ mobile home park has no public garden areas with over 400 residents.
The hope for these raised-box gardens was to create a community gathering space for people to get out of their houses and grow together. The idea was to get donations for scientific dirt, re use building materials from a no longer needed fence and to get donated seeds from local lawn/garden stores.A local youth group was going to help facilitate the building and heavy moving of these boxes and even help with the planting and weeding as necessary. Well as Murphy’s Law states, “what can go wrong, will go wrong.”
Before any solid plans could be made, time tables got moved closer, donations fell through, and volunteering was restricted due to other events/holidays. In the end, Growing Change did help facilitate the building of 7 boxes through the community efforts of 3 local heros.There was Frank the backwoodsman, my Great Uncle Erny and their fearless leader Grandpa Builder Bob. This team with the combined age of over 220 years was able to complete the impossible. They took 200 feet of heavy, warped fence panels which were headed for the landfill and turned them into beautiful raised gardens for a community to enjoy.
This building process was no easy task and in the end injuries did occur. My grandpa lost parts of his fingers and suffered a concussion but refused to give up until the project was over. Frank suffered a sprained ankle during a collapse and I suffered a bruise to my ego.In the beginning it was suppose to be an easy task but did not go as planned. We pride ourselves on having good planning and coordination and usually do. For some reason things just did not work out and I know as a young organization we have learned from this project.
On the brighter side, due to our vision and ability to make things happen, there are 7 new wheelchair accessible garden boxes for a 55+ community to grow this summer and that makes us feel really good.