Way back in the summer of 2007 a group called Farmlab created a project called "Agbins on Skid Row" with the lofty goal of bringing "a communal garden to the homeless community". 30 bins were set up and seeded with vegetables and flowers. Several Skid Row hosts were to foster and care for a bin during the summer. The purpose (beyond the communal garden for the homeless that is)? to bring the joy of growing food to displaced people. Farmlab waxed prosaic with this bit "our hope is that these agbins become like a single garden, in several locations, within this defined community".
Now let's get down to reality people. 30 ugly plywood bins painted with cheap flat house paint were built and seeded with all the parsley, rosemary and thyme a homeless person could dream of...
What did they become? little hiding places to stash your drugs? sometimes. Spare public toilets? sometimes. Empty sad looking boxes full of trash? sometimes.
Do I hear any communal gardens of happiness? Sorry folks. But still…a year later our three boxes may be down on their luck like the neighborhood, but one flower was determined to find purchase there.