There, among a slew of dilapidated urban real estate ruins, lay a worn strip mall with gaudy, half-lit, flashing neon light signs, a crumbling foundation, a faded, worn exterior, several vacant spaces, and trash strewn along the sidewalks. A spot of late-night crime or daytime loan sharking and money scamming business. This structure stood there as an eyesore, seemingly abandoned and hopeless, lending to the ever-present depravity and despair of the city. With each passing day, it slowly decays, neglected and unclaimed.
Instead of letting such an area simply degrade with other parts of the city, I would have it torn down completely. With $150,000 for renovation of the property, I would cultivate an organic garden on the plot of land, serving to provide fresh produce and flowers to the people of the community. Certain sections would be reserved for herbs, root vegetables, fruits and vegetables that grow on vines, fruit trees, and perennial and annual flowers. Other sections would be delegated for harvesting bees’ honey and wax and raising chickens for eggs. A large shed would provide a space for storing tools and supplies for maintenance of the property, and a small, quaint shop would house the fresh goods for sale. The shop would have a small adjoining office space where information and files concerning various aspects of the business could be stored. A barn would store the wooden box “bee hives,” while a coop would house the chickens.
The community would find a sense of unity in tending the garden, buying from the garden, and simply celebrating the beauty of the garden. The garden would bring together the community for the common purpose of tending it, reaping from it, and admiring its beauty. Often, urban communities face the hardships of family discord and separation from murder, abandonment, financial distress, and unstable lifestyles. Yet with this garden, friendships could be formed that mimic the love and care of a nuclear family. The commonality of coming together for the purpose of tending to the garden would foster the development of such lasting friendships.
In addition to imparting relationships, this garden would provide unemployed members of the community with stable jobs that they would be eager and delighted to attend to each day. Unlike a dead-end job at a fast food establishment or a job as a cell phone salesman, a role in the garden’s workforce would infuse purpose into community individuals’ lives when they care for something so cyclical and dependable as nature and its yield. Furthermore, a market for fresh eggs and produce will always exist despite the variable economy’s condition. Therefore workers for the garden will feel a sense of job stability knowing that there will always be a demand for fresh produce, and their paychecks will remain steady both in wage amount and total income.
In addition to...