Dear Gardeners and wider community,
Please join me in the garden tomorrow, Wednesday, from 5 until whenever, for stewardship, flowers tours, harvest, friendship and hope.
Before that are two links. One is a slide show of a portion of the diverse plants that are thriving in our native gardens. We will see some of them on our walk-around tomorrow.
The other is an impassioned beautiful short film by photographer, and former Waters School parent Alan Shorthall.
Below that is a portion of a message sent to our Alderman Matt Martin today. Please the main page of our website if you need background about what happened this month.
Gratitude to all.
Beautiful video about the Ecology program by Alan Shortall (thank you, Alan!)
Cooling off period for the garden.
Dear Ald Martin,
Thank you for your agreement to attempt to reopen negotiations.
This was written by Pete with the input of supporters in the community.
History shows that Waters Garden needs independent stewardship. It has always had that. This arrangement needs to continue to protect it. Pete will be seeking an agreement for stewardship and protection of the garden.
But first, most urgently, Pete and the garden community ask you please to reach out urgently to the principal to confirm that there will be no new construction of any size including fencing in the garden this year.
The reasoning behind this request is this: The gardeners suspect the community garden will be ripped out or that some new project will turn the garden into a construction site, betraying their trust in the safety of the garden they create and tend. The community remembers the last two times cps broke promises, lied to us, destroyed trees dedicated to students who had died, etc. We have film of it. People were crying in the garden today with worry and stress. The community needs relief. It’s sacred space to them. It’s where they raised their kids, tending the garden together… In our experience any crew in the garden needs close supervision or they destroy what was carefully built and betray the trust of volunteers.
People are on pins and needles watching the garden, expecting the principal to encroach on it with new “improvements” that destroy what was built by generations before, by students and parents who still live nearby. There are rare plants there. In the future, after the cooling off period, to avoid destruction and to avoid upsetting and angering the volunteers, crews should never be sent in without supervision from Pete or one of the other trusted, skilled gardeners, who work in conjunction with Pete. While people unfamiliar with Waters Garden may not understand, the history is that there have been countless problems over the years. For example, a crew trying to dig a 5 foot trench unannounced or test drilling for a new building where people turned out in protest on a moment’s notice. There needs to be a cooling off period before anything happens so things can calm down. We are worried both about the actual damage to the garden and about the gardeners themselves. There are so many stressors on people. They need to know the garden is safe.
Pete Leki (with input from community members)