Yardwork: A bitter melon grows in Boston
Some people see something special happening at The Berkeley Community Garden in Boston’s South End: a multicultural gardening community built from the rubble of a demolished city block, a green oasis of Chinese plants like bitter melon that’s been cultivated here for more than half a century.
But others? Well, all they see is a trash pile.
In this final installment of Yardwork, a summer yard and garden miniseries from Outside/In, we bring you the story of how a predominantly immigrant community garden is shaping the built environment even as gentrification has threatened its existence.
Featuring: Arlene Ng, Kim Szeto, Chun Lee, Sue Fong Lee, Helen Ng, Fanny, Ada, Sarah Hutt, John McLachlan, Jeremy Liu, Betsy Johnson, Ann McQueen, Valerie Burns
Listen to Yardwork part one: Lawn and Order
Adversity Can Help A Garden To Grow (NYTimes)
The Trustees of Reservations now owns and manages the Berkeley Community Garden. But many organizations have supported the garden through the decades, including:
- Boston Natural Areas Network (Wikipedia)
- South End Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust (Wikipedia)
- Boston Urban Gardeners
Mel King was instrumental in making community gardens in Boston possible. In 1974 he sponsored the MA Gardening and Farm Act, which passed into law and allowed people to farm and garden on vacant public land. He was honored in 2021 by then acting mayor of Boston, Kim Janey.