[Gardens build community. It’s funny to be on the other side of the fence and hear all the comments: you know, people guessing what stuff is, just ooh and aah-ing, seeing someone out here, at six in the morning, standing in the street just looking at a sunflower, I mean, that’s what it’s here for.
Just because of how people look at them, and when they see them, just how it changes, they’re moved.
I didn’t want to be symmetrical, I didn’t want everything to be lined up, I wanted it to be like a forest.
I like to live on the edge, so I planted- I plant mint where you’re not supposed to.
These are seed pods, and these things, the seeds are in here, blow where the winds takes them, all over the place, and you wind up with broccoli two blocks away, people wonder why, “I ain’t plant no broccoli, how the hell did I get broccoli?”
Plants want to live, you know, and they’re gonna morph, and gonna do things, and gonna follow the sun, everything they can do to survive. They let you know what they want, they’ll let you know what they need, and here, I’m providing an environment where they can live. To me it’s like my solace right now. Plants change people. I’ve had conversations with people that I’ve seen for years that I would never imagine. This takes some people back home, a lot of people from the South, now they’re living in apartment buildings where they used to be on land.
I have people that would drive by, and say “I just wanted my mom to see your garden, hey look Mom”— I guess this is what she used to do and then they knew that their mom would, you know, feel good about seeing this. There’s an elderly Japanese guy, and he would come — early in the morning. He would just walk the paths. I mean, slow, he would just walk the paths of the garden and he’s in his 80s, and he doesn’t speak English, he’d just walk, walk in the garden, so we, well, you know, found a way to communicate through sign language and, uh, he brought me some plants that he wanted me to grow.
I found a mother and her daughter out here at about ten-thirty at night. You don’t just go somewhere at ten-thirty at night especially over here, in somebody’s garden, at ten-thirty at night, unless you really need it, and it hurt me, made me sad, you know, and I’d tell them, take what you want.
Why should there be people hungry? One plant can give you a thousand, two thousand, twenty thousand seeds. We have the land to plant them. If you look down the streets here, you see all this brown grass, grass, and grass when you could be feeding people. They call areas like this throughout the United States, you know, “food deserts.” I thought, you know, why not have “food forests”? — Rob Finley, South L.A.]