Community gardens are important in cities across the world. They can help revitalize neighborhoods, build a sense of community, grow healthy food, improve sustainability, teach environmental education, and create a sense of place. The Bramble community garden also creates relationships between the tenants, their families, and extends out to other garden enthusiasts.

As the garden has grown, so have the abilities of the tenants. Zion lives at the Bramble home, a 16-unit apartment building for those with developmental disabilities.  Zion’s father, Jim is an experienced gardener, chef and helps care for Zion. Jim had the idea to convert a small space along the driveway into a small garden and through Jim’s willingness to volunteer his time, donations from his fellow community gardeners, and purchasing discounted plants, Zion, Jim, and a few tenants brought life to the seeds and plants to create the first community garden at the Bramble home. From digging, planting, and watering, to weeding, the garden has flourished. Heirloom tomatoes, peppers, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, popcorn, squash, watermelon, strawberries, cabbage, and sunflowers for pollination will provide the opportunity for Jim to prepare a community meal that will be shared with the tenants and staff for all to enjoy. They have also created a tropical garden on the back patio featuring large palms, elephant ears, and various other flowers and added a donated composting barrel; making their own compost to use in the garden.

It’s more than dirt and plants on the side of the driveway at the Bramble home. The garden provides a sense of inclusion and a sense of home. It teaches the tenant’s new skills and provides an opportunity for friendships to blossom. The Bramble Community Garden provides encouragement for community connection and engagement.

Inclusive Housing Resources would like to thank Jim and his friends for their willingness to volunteer their time, energy, and expertise to make the first Bramble Community Garden possible.