Cities large and small can learn more than community gardening from the Scott Park Garden Club in Decatur, Georgia. They can also pick up some lessons in neighborliness.
Families work side by side in the Scott Park Community Garden and also gather once a month for a potluck meal. "We've been having lunch together each month for about three years," says Chris Lewis, director of the club and leader of senior citizens programs for the Decatur Recreation Department. "We have a diverse community, and this provides a way for people to benefit from that diversity."
Getting To Know Each Other
Before Chris organized the lunchtime gatherings, neighbors involved in the community garden either didn't know each other or seldom saw one another. "Food really pulls people together," says club member Jean Kessler. "It's so Southern."
The meetings also allow people from different generations to interact. "The older women in the group tend to bake more, which amazes the younger women," Jean says. "The first time I baked a pound cake for the meeting, one of the younger women said, 'You made this from scratch? My grandmother used to do that.' "
According to both Chris and Jean, everyone still raves about the food once brought by Shafika Khaleel, who recently moved to Colorado. Originally from India, Shafika introduced the others to her native cuisine. "She prepared wonderful dishes with the most interesting flavors and told us how they were made," says Jean.
From international to intergenerational, the monthly gatherings have established strong ties within this Georgia community.