Community Building is our Mission
While “Gardens” is in our name, the Quesada Gardens Initiative is really about connecting people and groups to one another. That creates structural and sustainable change in the community where we live, work and play. Some call it “social cohesion,” others “social capital.” Whatever it’s called, other community investments don’t work as well without it. There are lots of strategies that can build community. What makes some produce better results is holding to principles that Karl and Annette taught us from the start:
- Start with the “positive,” build on the physical and human strengths that reside in any community, and support the good things people do where they live, work and play
- Let residents and others with deep roots in a place lead, and learn (and re-learn) how to include everyone who cares in meaningful grassroots community-building.
- Allow communities to self-define, including the nearby physical environment.
- Honor consensus, acknowledge hard workers, forgive mistakes, and remember that one person’s weed is another person's flower.
In other words, as proud as we are to have built backyard and community gardens, grown food, created large-scale public art, produced public gathering spaces and community events, and built neighborhood communications and networking tools, we are even more proud that so many people from all walks of life have gotten involved, stayed involved, and worked hard to make sure each accomplishment is sustained.
We’re just getting started! We are growing the Bayview Hunters Point network of gardens, public spaces, and informal community-building groups. At the same time, we are letting policymakers in on Karl and Annette’s secret: true grassroots community-building, the kind that starts and stays with the community, is the most cost-effective way to create sustainable social change.