With clear skies, and warm weather melting the mountains of snow around us, it’s really starting to feel like spring in Minnesota. Every day, new seedlings are sprouting, and spreading their first little leaves. Before we know it, it will be time for them to go outside and begin to grow in earnest! But during this momentary lull, I’d like to share some of the dream that Sovereign Starts is built around. This is, of course, the community garden.
Sometimes, I wonder if the term “community garden” falls short of describing the environment we hope to grow around this city. Most of the time, I find myself qualifying that phrase after saying it, saying something like: “but, not with individual plots”, or “where food is distributed for free”. Usually, it’s clear by the reaction that this was not conveyed with the initial phrase: “community garden”.
The fact that, for most people, “community garden” brings to mind a bunch of individual gardens all sitting right next to each other really highlights how individualistically we live. Each of us is expected to have our own car, our own tools, our own food. It’s almost like each of us is a little nation, all conducting little acts of diplomacy to import our daily coffee in exchange for a little bit of our national reserves. But I digress. Rather than describing the isolation of our current paradigm, let me describe how “community gardens” might serve as an invigorating respite.
Imagine a place where money played no role; like a “timeout zone” from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Sort of like a public park, but instead of a place to just sit, or pass through, this place would implicitly be a meeting spot. Imagine how much more fulfilled we could feel if, instead of filling our downtime scrolling through our favorite social media apps, we spent a little bit of it meeting people face to face.
Not that social media isn’t a blast, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not on my best behavior online. Besides, when I’m online, I’m usually interacting with people I already know, and if not, the Algorithms-That-Be have probably vetted us as compatible somehow.
On the other hand, in this imaginary place, we can meet with someone who might have vastly different politics, but we don’t have to meet in the context of the latest, most aggravating, clickbait headline. Instead, we could meet in context of reality, where we might discover we have much more in common that we thought: that we want to feel safe and have fun free of prejudice, or that we want to raise a family and need a break from the intense financial burden that entails. Best of all, we are already starting from a position to help each other achieve those goals: together.
All of this socializing seem a little overwhelming? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There’s an activity that we can all participate in, in this imaginary place; something we can do while we break the ice. And, it just so happens it’s one of the most useful, therapeutic, and ancient pass-times out there: harnessing the natural world to keep us alive and healthy, aka gardening! Now, you are starting to get a picture of the dream that is a culture built around community gardens.
Now imagine these places were all over the city, and we could check different ones out, to explore places in this beautiful city we wouldn’t have otherwise had a reason to. Oh, I could go on, and on, and on, and I will! Because these places already exist, nascent as they are, people are dreaming this dream and bringing it into reality as you read this. I’ve seen our local community garden spontaneously turn into a daycare, or a free outdoor movie theatre! I can’t wait to see all the things these places can become, that I can’t even imagine yet.
I truly hope you join us in bringing this dream into reality. This is a road to experiences that money just can’t buy.