The Covid pandemic has meant that many people have had to stay home, and miss the social connections of their friends and neighbourhood.
Pratyush Dayal in The Tyee wrote this compelling article about Barry and Joan Jung who were feeling socially isolated at their home near Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth park. They had tried to have people on their block stop by for a Christmas party, and had tried to chat with neighbours as they walked past their front lawn.
But it was not until they started gardening vegetables in their front lawn that people started to talk to them.
“People started coming and asking, ‘What are you doing, aren’t you afraid that people will steal your vegetables?’” said Joan Jung. “And it invited this curiosity. We found that through the garden, people started having conversations.”
The front garden which contained fruits and vegetables instead of the expected same-old hedge and decorative flower beds became the start of gatherings, parties, seed exchanges, and thank you notes from grateful passers by.
“Over the years, we’ve realized that people do crave a sense of community, but they don’t realize it. We’re socialized to be independent and self-sustaining and not needing anyone else. But this pandemic has really exposed that we really do need each other.”
Their garden is full of sunflowers (they have names) and they leave their extra plants in small pots for others to take.
From his interest in community Mr. Jung changed careers and went to Regent College the school of theology at University of British Columbia. The YouTube video below sums up his gardening philosophy as it relates to his spiritual calling.
You can also take a look at the City’s current boulevard planting guidelines if you would like to plant your own front garden.