Australians Al Wicks and Ruby Thorburn got busy during the pandemic turning an abandoned lot into a community garden. It started when the pandemic hit and Ruby sensed overwhelming despair in the community. She and her friend Al Wicks decided to try to do something that would give people hope. They formed “Growing Forward,” a community organization dedicated to setting up “guerilla” community gardens in under-utilized public spaces. They found a plot of land that was owned by the state government, but had long been abandoned; they checked with the traditional owner of the property for permission to build a garden. Then, they started a wider community consultation, checking with every house near the proposed garden. After giving people plenty of chances to raise any concerns, they got right to work on building the garden. With no permanent infrastructure, they nevertheless laid the ground for a successful community garden. Now, the garden grows food for the community and it might just grow community itself. “For me, something really special about the gardens is that every time I come, I hear the sound of laughter. And I think laughter means more than laughter. It means that we’re connected to something.” Said Ruby.

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