How does one go about creating Eden?
Especially when the story starts something like: Once upon a time there was a wasteland, a dry and barren verge of ugliness in a small corner of Diep River.
Well, the first step is to have a dream and my wife Valerie [aka tbV or The Beautiful Val, to me!] and i had been wanting to do something creative and gardeny in our community since we moved in. During lockdown though, Val took it into her own hands and started dreaming of turning the verge on the other side of our back garden wall into a community garden, where food would be free for all.
Turns out one of the ways you work towards Creating Eden in your community is by getting hold of the people who call themselves ‘Creating Eden’ [Who saw that one coming?]
Ghalema Easton is the brains and body behind Creating Eden, which on Facebook describes itself as ‘a Mission to grow fruit and veg in unused public spaces, growing free food for the needy..starting with a little verge outside your home…’ She is a pensioner who, since lockdown started, been helping to transform the verges on a number streets in the neighbouring suburbs of Plumstead and Diep River into lush food gardens. They also have created and are taking care of The Palliative Care Unit Food Garden at Victoria Hospital. You can read some more about them on this IOL article.
The rest ended up being quite straightforward – gather some resources, invite some friends and set aside a morning to dig and plant and cover and water. A number of potential volunteers sadly pulled out last minute for a range of different reasons and so we ended up being a small dedicated crew who hoed and dug and shoveled and pruned and planted. It was a lot of hard work and since then every day – well, now every second day, Val goes around and i feed a hose through the hole we made in our vibrocrete wall [Sh!] and waters the garden.
i took some pics last week when i had this blog post in mind, but this morning Val was like: Take some pics today because you won’t believe how much it has grown… So these are the pics i took last week:
The Greatest Joy
Almost every day i hear someone stop and have a conversation with her. People have been so super psyched with this garden. Hooting as they drive past; getting Ghalema’s details so they can pursue their own part of Eden; offering to bring plants and bottles and more to add to the garden. It has been so inspiring to listen to these engagements take place. Life has already been created, even before we’ve seen any food.
i asked Val for a quote and she said that one of her favourite things is: When people ask me “What happens if someone steals from the garden” I say, “You can’t steal what is freely given.”
And these are the pics i took this morning, literally just a few days since the ones above and it is incredible to see the growth and the beginning of vegetables starting to appear:
You could be next!
It is an incredible thing to watch food appear for the first time. i remember as a child my dad used to grow mielies [corn] and those were always pretty cool. But it’s been a while and seeing the cherry tomatoes [literaly by the hundred] and peppers and chilis and a few other things that Val has successfully grown in our tiny garden has been inspiring.
But i can’t wait to see the food start growing over the wall from us with the invitation to those who live nearby or walk past to help themselves. This is how we start changing communities and slowly start to tip the balance of the world.
If you have a verge outside the place you stay or a spot nearby that you could watch over, then contact Creating Eden [which i think has a specific focus on the Plumstead/Southfield/Diep River area but i imagine Ghalema would be up to advising if it was somewhere else] and get yours going.
Join the FOOD IS FREE movement! And discover that as you do, you start to mobile others in the neighbourhood to get involved as well. Sometimes people just need a nudge!