Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Member Sit-Down: Interview with Carol Kronoff

This morning, Escalante Community Garden Coordinator Alyssa Brooke-Gay sat down with Escalante Community Garden Member Carol Kronoff to talk about the garden.  This interview will be the first of many ECG Member interviews.  Enjoy!

Interview with Carol Kronoff, Escalante Community Garden Member

How did you hear about the Escalante Community Garden (ECG)?
I attend the Escalante Senior Center and a fellow-participant Terry Brewer told me about it, and it sounded fun so I showed up, and I’ve been a member ever since.

What is your gardening background, if any?
When I was little I remember planting sweet peas under the trees in the backyard, and always wanting to plant more.  Then, when I finally had my own place, I always had a garden when I could.  I had a really big garden once when I lived in Oregon; my husband had to rent a tractor for that one.  Now that I live in an apartment, I’ve really only been to have house plants and tomato plants.

What is your favorite part about the ECG?
The belonging, the being apart of.  I’ve got to say that’s even more important to me than playing in the dirt.  Like Cheer’s, the Escalante Community Garden is the place where everybody knows your name.

Has the ECG benefitted you, and if so how?
It’s benefitted me by giving me a focus.  Right now, I’m past working and just living on social security, and the garden is something that’s been getting me out of my apartment.  It’s something that I can talk about with my family, including my daughter that’s in Ireland.  I’ve wanted to have a local garden for a long time; I’ve read about it in magazines, and now that I actually have one just past my back fence, I’ve jumped on it.  I’ve contributed with the planning committee, which is empowering.  I’ve made suggestions that are considered valuable, and that’s something that’s been very good for me.  It makes me feel like there’s something I can do, that makes me feel like I matter and can still contribute. There’s something about connecting with the earth that’s very therapeutic for me.

What advice would you give to other individuals looking to start community gardens in their neighborhoods?
Do it!

What veggies are you excited about growing at the ECG?
Tomatoes, and broccoli

What is your favorite section in the garden?
That there is green stuff coming out of the ground, and how wonderful it smells.

What are your hopes for the ECG?
That is grows and evolves for as long as there are people living in Tempe, because gardens aren’t static, there are always things to do and grow in a garden.  I’m looking forward to installing our cactus garden, and to educating children that really haven’t had any opportunities with the land and gardening.  I can imagine kids coming to the Escalante Center Pool this summer and seeing at the garden and wanting to become involved and that excites me.  I’d also like to see a children’s garden filled with quick growing plants like sunflowers and radishes.  Also, a fragrance garden, and hummingbird garden would be fun!

How would our society be different if every community had a Community Garden?
There are the obvious benefits of allowing people access to fresh vegetables and healthier food and teaching people that vegetables don’t grow in stores.  Also, the opportunity for like-minded people to work together and build something together is great.  Community gardens are such a good opportunity for people to connect with the earth, to connect with their inner Adam and Eve.  Community gardens also provide an alternative to such a mechanized/digitalized society.  Even if someone isn’t directly involved with a community garden, they can come sit in it and smell it and feel the breeze.  Community gardens give everybody an opportunity to get back to nature.

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