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A Place to Grow

((TRT: 13:21))
((Banner: A Place to Grow))
((Reporter/Camera: Gabrielle Weiss))
((Map: Washington, DC))
((Main characters: 7 female; 7 male))
((Michael Minton, Chairman, Glover Park Community
Garden Association))
The Glover Park Community Garden Association started
around 1939 and then it slowly grew to become a victory
garden in 1942 when the US was at war. And it became
essential for the folks that lived in the area here to grow their
own vegetables as they were not able to purchase these
things in the grocery store at that time.
((Steve Stinnette, Gardener))
We really want to respect the intent, the original intent of this
garden which was a victory garden during World War II. And
we just think that's kind of amazing because it's almost we're
using it that way again now with food shortages potentially at
the grocery stores. And we think it's exciting to carry on that
tradition for the people that have been here before us and
gotten through rough times and to see better days. So,
hopefully they're not looking down on us saying, ‘Oh God,
what are you guys doing.’
((Nancy Rowand, Gardener))
My fingernails have not been clean since early March
probably. They're the opposite of French nails. I don't know
what you would call them but they're, well, you'd call them
dirty. That’s all.
((Ernesto Vergara, Gardener))
I got a lot of vegetables, especially squash. The biggest one
that I harvested I think it was 42 pounds [19 kg]. I had to
bring it home in a cart because it was so heavy, I couldn’t
just carry it by myself.
((Charles Volkman, Gardener))
I think, I think I'm the oldest gardener here, too, in age,
heading for 90, the big one. I'm still out here. So, I guess
the good Lord's looking after me a little bit. Either that or
he’s getting even with me.
The Glover Park Community Garden Association has 149
garden plots and a long waiting list.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the garden has remained
((Michael Minton, Chairman, Glover Park Community
Garden Associatiom))
It seems like everyone wants to get back into the garden
regardless of the virus and the situation that we have in front
of us. They all want to get back into the garden. They want
to garden. They don't want to lose their gardens. It's
become more and more a valuable commodity both, you
know, from a growing perspective of fresh vegetables and
sustainability as it is emotional as well.
((Nancy Rowand, Gardener))
For physical and mental benefits, I have really enjoyed
coming to the garden. I would not be very happy without the
garden. Coming here has helped me to manage the
separation from my grandson. This is my destination on a
daily basis. I don't think I've missed a day since COVID hit
and since we've been self-quarantined. And a lot of times
I'm here twice a day.
((Steve Stinnette, Gardener))
The timing's been interesting with the COVID-19 going on
because this has really been our escape during this time.
It's a great place to come and have fresh air, sunshine, get
some exercise, digging and pushing the wheelbarrow
around, at the same time having some connection with our
neighbors and other people as well. But we all have our
social distancing with our little cages here. 25 by 25-foot
cage [7.6 by 7.6 meters].
((Mike, Gardener))
Who needs a gym when you’ve got a baby?
((Lauren, Gardener))
We don't really care what we grow. It’s just kind of fun
experiencing it.
((Mike, Gardener))
You know, maybe, grow some baby food, grow our own
((Lauren, Gardener))
((Mike, Gardener))
Carrots, whatever it is you want to eat.
((Rosanna Grimm, Gardener and Garden Inspection
And there’s onions all the way…..
((Michael Minton, Chairman, Glover Park Community
Garden Association))
What are you planting in here?
((Rosanna Grimm, Gardener and Garden Inspection
Green beans.
((Rosanna Grimm, Gardener and Garden Inspection
I will never buy another potato from the supermarket. They
all have to come from here because it
just changes. To taste the earth, to taste the richness of the
soil in what you’re consuming, you can’t find that anywhere
in a supermarket.
((Veronica, Gardener))
You know, in a weird way, coming here kind of makes you
escape and forget what's going on around you. You know,
this has definitely been one of the few options we have left to
spend time outside of our home so, depending on how long
this goes on, we'll continue to be out here so long as we
((Ernesto Vergara, Gardener))
I haven't heard of anyone in the garden having caught
the virus, thankfully.
((Surya Banu, Gardener))
Yeah, I worry. I worry. I want that all sickness can go
because this sickness is very difficult. Nobody can go
funeral. Nobody can do nothing. Nobody can come see the
dead body. It's so scary die. This die. I'm thinking myself.
((Jutta Volkman, Gardener))
You’re going to put some more tomatoes here in the
((Charles Volkman, Gardener))
Yeah, I’m going to put some zucchinis and whatever I’ve got
left over, I’m going to stick in there. You know, we went
through lots of these things before. The flus and the rabbit
tularemia, rabbit fever, back in the 20s. Man, I remember all
kinds of disasters. I'm not a doomsayer. I figured, if it gets
you, it gets you. Enough of us survived to procreate, I
guess. But no, I don't get uptight about it. I got my mask
here. In case I go to a store, I'll put it on
because it’s….. Normally I wouldn't and as soon as this
craziness ends, it’s going in the trash.
((Larissa Hotra, Gardener))
Having a baby during the pandemic is strangely a bright spot
for us because it allowed us to spend time together as a
family quietly. Do you disagree? You don’t disagree,
do you? Get to know this little guy.
((Chris Cox, Gardener))
It’s been great. That's been our hobby. That’s been our
new skill, just learning to become parents during a
((Steve Stinnette, Gardener))
It doesn't get any fresher than this. Someone was throwing
this away at work and so I rescued this from the trash can.
But it stuck out to me because it's an S and an A for Steve
and Alvin. That's our garden. So, we'll put it right here. Fits
perfectly. We both grew up as children with our hands in the
dirt and my father had a garden and I've just always loved
to plant and up until we had this. We live in an
urban area. We have a balcony, but this is really the
backyard we don't have in a lot of ways.
((Alvin Crawley, Gardener))
It's a place of peace. It's an opportunity to connect and
reconnect with the earth and what life really should be about,
and that is making sure that we're taking care of the earth
and in turn, the earth will take care of us. And I think, this is
the evidence that if we put in a little bit of work, that that
((Charles Volkman, Gardener))
I'm a dirty guy. I like to get my hands in the dirt. They're just
old Big Boy tomatoes, been growing them now for a
long time. So, I stick with them. Better the devil you know,
that's what I always say. Oh, I’ve always liked farming and
gardening and working in the soil and outdoors in the woods
and hunting and fishing and chasing girls and drinking. All
the good stuff in life and the bad stuff.
((Ernesto Vergara, Gardener))
My refrigerator is full to capacity. As a matter of fact, when
all this hoarding took place, I didn't have to hoard anything
because I had been hoarding the year-round anyway. So, I
got this supply in my refrigerator which is probably good for
about three more months.
((Nancy Rowand, Gardener))
Would you like to come with me while I pull up a carrot,
the first carrot? OK. The very first carrot. My grandson
worked with me the first two years. He loved to hunt for
worms but, of course, with COVID, he's not here this
year. So, I miss him.
((Nancy Rowand, Gardener))
OK, you ready? Here are some carrots. Hey Drew, see
them? Three carrots, three carrots. I'm on FaceTime
with Drew, my grandson, every day, so he can see how
things are growing. Did you see how I made straw bale
gardens since you're not here to play in the straw? There is
a little tomato and two Asian eggplants.
((Veronica and Ella, Gardeners))
I've always loved nature and I wanted to teach Ella about
nature and get to enjoy the, you know, fruits of your labor of
working hard in the yard and growing things, so to get Ella
What did we grow last year? What kinds of vegetables?
Pumpkins. Not going to do that again.
((Rosanna Grimm, Gardener and Garden Inspection
There’s no place, no place on earth that brings more peace,
at least to me, than being here, right in here where I am.
((Surya Banu, Gardener))
I love my garden. I wanted to make it,
enjoy it. And vegetables, I give it to my friends. Everybody,
you know, whoever asks me, I give it to them. And I enjoy
((Larissa Hotra, Gardener))
I think he's really curious. We're so excited. We've been
since the minute he was born. We've been, you know,
showing him the garden, showing him everything in the
natural world as much as we can with social distancing. I
mean, one of the things we've really thought about with the
pandemic, with the social unrest, all the injustices that are
now finally coming to light in a more obvious way, is that he
will be hopefully born into a world that's more equitable. And
so, I want him to have it as diverse a diet as possible. So, I
want him seeing people of different colors and
different nationalities. I want him eating different foods, the
rainbow, the fruits and vegetables and all the healthy things
so, I want this kiddo to grow up to always be open-
minded about the world around him.
((Chris Cox, Gardener))
The garden is a great place to see the diversity that the
world has to offer. I mean, just in our little victory
garden here, we have so many nationalities
represented. We have so many plant-species represented.
Bird-species represented. We have so much diversity
here. This is great. Yeah, he’s not being raised in a sterile
environment where it's only black and white. There's so
much, there's so much that's around here.
((Steve Stinnette, Gardener))
We're definitely very aware of racial injustices in the world,
the pandemic, of course. We like to think we're making
progress and we have, but we still have a long way to go.
((Nancy Rowand, Gardener))
I’m feeling hopeful for the future. It is a time of big
change. And I'm glad to be alive and see the change.
((Surya Banu, Gardener))
I don't worry anything when I come in the garden. I working,
working in the garden, so everything in my mind, out, you
know. In the home, we are sitting down, watching TV,
watching something coming in, lot of thing in the mind. But
not in the garden, you know.
((Charles Volkman, Gardener))
Oh, the night that Patty Murphy died, I never shall forget.
We all got stinking drunk at night and some ain’t sober yet.
Oh, the only thing we did that night to fill our hearts with
Was take the ice from off the corpse and put it in our beer,
Boom, boom, boom,
That's how we showed our respect for Patty Murphy.
That's how we showed our honor and our pride…..
Boom, boom, boom…..
((Ernesto Vergara, Gardener))
It’s always a happy day. I can’t say one day’s more happy
than another one.
((Rosanna Grimm, Gardener and Garden Inspection
It's a year to year, your expectations, you know, what’s going
to happen this year? But you prepare for the best and you
go with nature. What nature gives you, you take.
((Steve Stinnette, Gardener))
There's nothing more hopeful than a seed, I think, because
you look at this little tiny hard object and you can never
imagine that that could have so much life in it. And so, this
is our, our place of hope and we get away from the craziness
in the world here.
((Charles Volkman, Gardener))
My days are numbered. See how long I can hang in there. I
keep saying this is my last year, this is going be my last
year, but it never is. I keep one more good year. So, I
guess, if I'm still alive and moving, I'll be up here next year
again. See what happens.