“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 

John Muir

community healing in eli’s garden

Transforming vacant lots into urban greenspace has so many benefits for the neighboring community. “To change the community, we have to change the composition of the soil.” – Rob Finley, South Central LA gardener. Watch this inspiring 10 minute TEDtalk (with over 4.2M views!) to hear more about how Rob has embraced gardening to bring nutrition and community engagement to his neighborhood and how his message to the streets is to embrace time gardening over engaging in violence.

Hopefully if you are reading this, you watched the TEDtalk and got a glimpse into how Rob used his garden as a tool to bring something big to his community. It was only empty land, flowers, and veggies but for Rob and his community it became so much more.

Flash back across the country to Hamden, CT and the issues we face with violence in our homes, in our streets, and in our schools. Think to yourself, how can we use the tools we have with soil and some seeds to bring healthy activities to our neighbors. Eli’s Garden of Healing is not going to be the end solution to the problem of violence, but it will be one more tool, one more place in our community to bring wellness into our lives and, as Rob says “change the composition of our soil”.

Community healing takes people; it takes people who want to heal, alone or together, and want to participate. People who know that we can be better, healthier versions of ourselves.

So how does Eli’s Garden plan to engage with the community? We have ideas and would love to hear yours.

First, we want to encourage engagement with the local schools and government. We want to partner with our schools and interact with the students, who are in their prime development stages. Students who are interested in building a better today and tomorrow.

Next, we want to engage with the community. We want to open the garden up for events throughout the year with violence intervention programs, survivor groups, and other organizations who see the garden as an opportunity for meaningful conversations, volunteering, and healing.

Finally, we believe building and maintaining a garden is art. We want to support regional artists as we build the garden. We want to partner with a range of artists throughout the design phase of the garden to design a beautiful setting for the community. Every economic opportunity we have in the design and building phase will include consideration by our Board of Directors for BIPOC artists who we can partner with.

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