Planting Seeds of Hope
By Teresa Woodard
In Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch, reporter Allison Manning wrote an eye-opening, front-page report “Kids Killing Kids” about teen violence especially in four of our city’s urban zip codes. Later in the afternoon, I found myself on the fringes of one of those zip codes visiting a community garden, 4th Street Farm, as part of a photo assignment.
Yes, this garden was a bit overgrown with weeds much like my own garden at this time of year, but I couldn’t help but smile as I saw residents passing through the garden or reading on a bench. What a hopeful spot in a challenged neighborhood! In such urban pockets, the Dispatch reports more than half of the households live below the poverty level, 30 percent of the housing units are vacant, nearly 9 in 10 births are to unmarried women, and kids grow up learning a “shoot or die” way of life.
Curious to learn more about the garden, I checked out the 4th Street Farms’ website to find details about the groups that came together to design and install the gardens. This outpouring of community support no doubt must lift the spirits of a struggling community, connect the neighborhood’s youth with positive role models active in the project and share the hopeful rewards that gardening so generously affords to all.
Thanks to these generous volunteers and sponsors who are planting seeds of hope at this community garden and so many others! To learn more, check out American Community Gardens Association.