Field of Greens

Jamilah Rasheed, the driving force behind the Field of Greens community garden in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT

Jamilah Rasheed, the driving force behind the Field of Greens community garden in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT

Humor and beauty abound in this episode to inspire creative, healing social change. Two fabulous women share their work, one through theater, the other through gardens. 

Part 1: Legislative Theater, an exciting and innovative technique being used through Theater of the Oppressed New York (TONYC) to illicit outside the box creative problem solving through interactive community created theater. Their work is based on Theater of the Oppressed techniques coming out of Brazil. Katy Rubin, executive director of TONYC talks details about using theater for social change and how she strives as a white Director to create equity and shared power within the organization. CHECK OUT MORE HERE!

Part 2:  Field of Greens (starts at the 37 minute mark), gardener, activist and grandmother, Jamillah Rasheed walks us through the community garden she and her neighbors built in the vacant lots on their block. She shares how creating something beautiful and life-giving has impacted her neighbors, and the challenges of keeping the garden, and community growing. SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFO AND PIX! 

Field of Greens
Five years ago I met this beautiful woman at the New Haven Food Summit I was organizing, and she has continually inspired me with her positivity and dedication to building community and doing what is just. Her calm and her fire are in such balance...that must be why beauty grows in her trail, and her neighborhood and community are so much better for it! (Scroll down to read the history of her garden)

In this time of political insanity and spreading hatred in our country, I feel it is especially important to highlight inspiring work that is happening to remind us the good and transformation is possible, what I often call creative and healing social justice. Jamilah has worked to organize her community to clear drug dealing from her street, start a food pantry to help people get access to food, and so much more. She inspires me in so many ways! 

To get involved in this garden contact Jamilah directly at: tai062009@gmail.com or follow Field of Greens Community Garden on Facebook - or check out the other New Haven Land Trust community gardens.  To find a garden in your area, google "community gardens and the name of your town" to locate an organization or a spot near you. 

From the New Haven Land Trust community garden site:  
Jamilah Rasheed has been backyard gardening for 25 years. She always found joy and fulfillment in not only eating from her own garden but in being hands-on in growing fresh vegetables. After attending a New Haven Food Policy council Food Summit in October 2012, where Will Allen of Growing Power was the guest speaker, she was inspired to pursue using a vacant lot on the street that she lives on as a community garden. She wasn’t familiar with the New Haven Land Trust until she went on a bus tour of some of the gardens we maintained and spoke with a woman who insisted that I contact the NHLT for help. The NHLT welcomed Jamilah's request to join our organization. We contacted the City of New Haven and secured a one year lease for the lot on 8 Arthur St.

This garden secured $3,200.00 in grants from the New England Green Fund, Community Foundation of New Haven, CARE at Yale University, and the New Haven Green Fund. This money covered most of the garden's startup costs, including wood for raised beds, tools, a shed, the installation of a fence around the garden, seedlings from Common Ground High School, etc. NHLT covered the cost of soil and water usage. The South Central Regional Water Authority, with the help of NHLT, installed the water meter free of charge.

In 2014, there are four adults who are committed to working in the garden. Many community members have found the garden to be very positive for the community. The children who are involved have found the garden to be fun and exciting. There have been many positive expressions about the space from those who stop as they are walking past the garden.

When there is excess produce, the gardeners have gone door to door and given it out. People are learning more about the purpose of the garden and seem excited to get involved in the spring.

Overall the neighborhood has benefited greatly from the presence of this beautiful green space, which was once a trash filled vacant lot.

This garden is accepting new gardeners! Contact Jamilah directly at: tai062009@gmail.com or follow Field of Greens Community Garden on Facebook.