Written by Gabrielle McNamara
Starting from the bottom up is difficult for anything, but it’s especially difficult when there is no obvious trajectory. You have to make your own path as you attempt to follow the footsteps of others, trying to learn from others’ mistakes and instead learning from your own. Unfamiliar territory plagued my whole journey of creating a proposal for the garden, and although I began apprehensively, I pushed forward confidently in the end.
At the very beginning of this semester, I decided to take on a project I knew nothing about. I thought it would help me get some experience in the workings of local government. The project was to create a proposal for a new community garden in North Berkeley, a collaboration with UC Berkeley via Professor Altieri and the City of Berkeley via the office of councilmember – and now mayor elect – Jesse Arreguin. My job was to assess the need and want for a garden in the community. I originally thought I would just do a simple survey of the community and maybe a public forum for community discussion. I didn’t realize how much research would actually go into it, such as surveying, comparing grocery stores, evaluating income disparities, interviewing other community gardens, and more.