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Urban Gardening: Chinatown Style!

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Spring is the beginning of the summer crop season. I watched with great interest in late April as the grandmother living next door to PCDC’s office prepared her garden plot. For years she shared her vegetables and melons with me and my staff. This spring I would arrive at the office extra early to watch Xiu Yun Chen tend to her plot. I could tell just by the way she worked the soil, that she was an experienced farmer. The first week Xiu Yun Chen prepared her garden by pulling weeds and tilling the soil. Then she spread a variety of seeds and watered them each day. One morning she called me over and patiently explained what she was doing and the types of seeds she was planting. I couldn’t keep up with what she was teaching me. She was growing vegetables for sauteing and vegetables for herbal soups.

I wasn’t the only one watching. Two members of PCDC’s street-sweeping team would watch Ms. Chen tend to her gar-den each morning as they arrived for work. Well, Ms. Chen knew what they wanted; she gave them each seeds to begin their own garden. They cleared small parcels and started their plantings. They tend to their gardens before and after their work shift.

These three gardeners will deliver a season’s worth of vegetables for their families. Such a simple garden brought three individuals together – immigrants who can enjoy the fruits of their labor in a land that is now home. What is even more amazing is that the total area of all three gardens is less than 30 square feet. Is it time to again for another community garden? George Moy, where are you?

- John Chin, Executive Director