When our year took an unexpected turn in March 2020, our team was in the midst of strategic planning and redefining/clarifying our values and goals for the coming years. As the pandemic unfolded, we listened, watched, and contemplated what it meant for the Garden. Ultimately, we landed on a vision that we would be, “A garden to inspire and empower all gardeners.” Interest in gardening has skyrocketed this year and emerging gardeners are hungry for knowledge, resources, and guidance. As protests against systemic racism and injustice continued to unfold we also were reminded that the barriers to gardening are not the same for everyone.
As a result, we’re recommitting our team to be helpers, and this means using every tool at our disposal to help wherever and however we can. Our shared reality isn’t comfortable right now, and horticulture and public spaces are not immune from institutional racism and injustice. To be silent is to be complacent.
Honesty, authenticity, vulnerability, and love are catalysts for change, healing and renewal. I don’t want anyone in our community to doubt for a moment how seriously we take our commitment to be an authentic public garden. Being open to all is not the same as being welcoming, and we still have work to do.
We’ll continue elevating the voices of gardeners of color. We’ll continue to recruit a diverse cohort of student interns while crafting our programs with, rather than for our community. We’ll continue to advocate for equitable access to nature and public gardens as we curate a restorative garden experience for our visitors.
This is a time when our community needs all the help we can get, and the Garden is stepping up. We’re constantly listening, watching, and planning how we can meet our community’s needs while staying true to our identity as a public garden. If you have ideas for how we can do better, please, reach out. We need and want to hear from you.
Thank you for gardening with us. Onward.
Benjamin Futa | Executive Director