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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ghouls in the Garden

Halloween Ghoul in Campos Garden

I visited 2 gardens on Tuesday that were the inspiration for this post. The Campos Garden and the Diaz y Flores Garden are just 2 blocks from each other on E.12th and E. 13th Streets in Manhattan, NY. Both gardens had Halloween decorations and displays scattered around the garden and were planning Halloween events. Diaz y Flores advertised theirs as "Ghouls in the Garden". The gardeners said they would be in costume to greet visiting Trick or Treaters.

That the community gardeners were making this effort shows the fascination that people have with Halloween and the creativity that is unleashed for this celebration. It also is an example of how community gardens provide space that is used for neighborhood celebrations. The space allows a group of neighborhood residents to throw a party for the whole neighborhood. Community residents who may not be involved with the garden in any other way are welcome to visit and enjoy the space.

These are the intangible benefits that community gardening provides. You can't really put a price tag on these Halloween celebrations. How much is an outdoor party venue worth? How much are all of the decorations worth? People's time to create the decorations, to run the party, buy refreshments, clean up? What is the price of community building? There is no formula that can assign values to these services. Couldn't a community garden be considered the highest, best use for these two urban spaces. All this while having a ghoulish good time!

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