Grow NYC

On the run, in retreat,
empty lots, dirty streets–
take the land, make it green–
thumbs and hearts, community.

Food to eat, flowers, herbs,
trees with branches full of birds–
an oasis filled with life–
lost then found, death defied.

I’ve been thinking about the earthweal challenge for Earth Day–what postitive steps have been taken locally to improve the environment?

NYC was in serious decline in the 70s–hence the famous headline, from 1975, below. Everything was falling apart, and there were vacant lots and abandoned properties everywhere.

Ford new york city drop dead

Organizations like GrowNYC, Greenthumb, and OasisNYC began to foster community gardens in abandoned lots, renovated by volunteers from the surrounding area. Today there are nearly 600 such gardens in the city–everywhere you walk, you’ll stumble upon one. Managed by neighborhood residents, they grow all kinds of things, both edible and simply beautiful. They foster new and experienced gardeners, young and old. They sponsor art displays and performances, and act as community centers.

I used Bjorn’s prompt, at dVerse, to compose my poem for Earth Day in Anapestic Tetrameter.

36 thoughts on “Grow NYC

  1. This is a story of hope, Kerfe, and it is a perfect Earth Day offering. I also hope yesterday’s climate talks have some positive effect this time around!

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  2. I love your Earth Day poem, Kerfe. I’ve read about the community project, similar to the ones in London, and such a wonderful thing to do. We also have guerrilla gardeners in British cities, who go out undercover of night and plant things in unusual places.

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  3. I think so many cities have become more aware and changed since the 1970s. Perfectly done, Kerfe–the poem flows, and your art and song selection go perfectly. I’d forgotten about this John Denver song–love this version with the Muppets.

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  4. If we tend the garden of nature, it will return us the favour and offer us healing. I enjoyed the side notes, reminding us there we are so capable of improving our environment. Just has to be put into action.

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  5. We need to think green, plant flowers and trees and clean up dirty lots. In the last year so many cities have seen drastic change and many have moved from the city to upstate where there is more outdoor space. I love what they have done with the High Line in the city.

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