What are those front yard boxes all about?
In the spring of 2015, 3 neighbors living on Waco St. in the SoCe Neighborhood placed garden boxes in their front yards. The goal for these boxes was threefold:
To grow healthy, organic food in their front yards for themselves.
To share the food they grew with neighbors and friends.
To network with other gardeners to share knowledge, tips, and ideas.
The following year 13 new boxes were added on nearby blocks. By the fall of 2017, there were 26 front yard garden boxes in SoCe and 5 outside the neighborhood. The following year, the number of boxes in SoCe increased to 45!
The front yard garden boxes were a wonderful “third thing.” They helped us get to know neighbors in a non-threatening way. They provided a conversation piece and a fun way for neighbors to share gardening tips, construction skills, and seed-saving strategies. As Catherine was sitting on the sidewalk painting a hard-to-get-to part of a garden box one day, the neighbor next door came out and asked how she could connect. To “Deann”, the boxes conveyed a sense of belonging, of being part of a community. It turned out that “Deann” was not interested in gardening, but she wanted to contribute somehow. She drove to the hardware store and bought cold drinks and lacquer to protect the murals on the side of the boxes.
In 2016, college students came to SoCe for a week-long immersion experience. They participated in workshops facilitated by neighbors. One workshop was hosted by a neighbor skilled in carpentry. He taught the students how to use various hand tools and they built several garden boxes together. It was an experience that highlighted the talent and skill of our neighbor.