Sometimes it’s good to have thing put in perspective. We’re fanning ourselves over the “right to plant” where we want to, while the suburbs are also facing a serious spread in heroin use among teenagers. My heart goes out to the Shorewood family who lost their teenage son to that deadly opiate. Telling people that they can or cannot plant in the median between the street and the sidewalk at once seems much easier than preventing the use of narcotics, and much more mundane. Perhaps because it’s easy enough for a municipality to make a change with regard to land use such as planting in yards and medians, but making deep social change is much more challenging.
That said, allow me to suggest gardening as a way to combat crime and build community. Having people come together to plant food and flowers is but one step in building a community. You need to go beyond that, and have the people involved in planning the garden, have them involved in harvesting what comes from the garden, and making it part of their lives. If it’s just a pretty thing to look at, in time, it will get ignored. A garden that is producing food and showing people how the many systems relate to and effect one another is a powerful analogy to the way the rest of the world operates. It shows how powerful team work can be, and that we can easily accomplish positive change in our lives through small actions.
How about starting a garden in memory of the young man who lost his life? Few things could better serve his memory and his family.