Difficult economic times, concerns about the environment, high obesity rates, and people’s desire to reconnect with each other and with their food source have sparked a national renaissance in community gardening.
The one-hour documentary “A Community of Gardeners” explores the vital role of seven community gardens in Washington, D.C. as sources of fresh, nutritious food, places of healing, outdoor classrooms, links to immigrants’ homelands, centers of social interaction and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods.
In “A Community of Gardeners,” a city dweller describes how a unique work-exchange program at a community garden has provided her with fresh produce and helped her survive tough economic times. At a multicultural garden, immigrants from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean recapture memories of their homelands through the fruits and vegetables they grow. Eleven blocks from the U.S. Capitol, a gardener describes how he and his neighbors transformed a weed- and drug-infested alley into a peaceful woodland oasis.
Parents and their children come back year after year to a youth garden to grow their own vegetables, and, in the process, adopt healthier eating habits. Gardeners facing personal challenges and health problems share the therapeutic benefits of working in their plots. Teachers at a school for children with disabilities explain how their handicapped-accessible school garden is designed to be a teaching tool, while their students describe the freedom and happiness they feel working and learning outdoors. The documentary follows one group of gardeners who must vacate their space due to building construction and shows how they establish a communal organic garden from the ground up.
“A Community of Gardeners” also traces the history of community gardens in the U.S. and reveals the important role they have played in times of war, economic depression and recession, and during periods of heightened environmental awareness.
Since its premiere at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, “A Community of Gardeners” has been shown at numerous public screenings, sparking lively post-film discussions about food security, healthy eating, youth education and engagement and access to land for urban gardening programs. The film has received stellar reviews in several leading educational magazines. Booklist calls "A Community of Gardeners" "informative and motivating," School Library Journal says the film is "delightful," and Video Librarian highly recommends the documentary. “A Community of Gardeners” is currently airing on public television stations across the country.
I invite you to host a screening of “A Community of Gardeners” on Food Day 2012 and beyond. For more information about the film and to watch the trailer, visit www.communityofgardeners.com.
Cintia Cabib is an independent producer, videographer, and editor whose award-winning programs have aired on PBS affiliates and on cable television. Her videos have been purchased by non-profit organizations, school systems, public libraries, colleges and universities.