COVID-19 and Community Gardening in Chicago
Dear NeighborSpace Gardeners and Friends,
Gardeners, we know you are a level-headed bunch, but these times bring new meaning to the word “grounded.” COVID-19 has hit our communities, and we, like all of you, are trying our best to respond and orient to this new normal. During this destabilizing time, we are aware that visions of getting out in the gardens and into the soil is keeping us sane, connected, and looking to the future. While you hunker down in your homes for the next few weeks, please nurture those visions of vegetables, flowers, and neighbors- we will get to the other side of this.
In the meantime, we ask you to continue being “careful and carefull”, and socially distance yourself as much as possible for your given situation. There is a deep history of community gardens being vital anchors of support in times of community crisis. It is a painful yet powerful parable of our times that in this moment, the best way to care for our communities is by physically stepping away from each other for a moment. This is not forever, but it is important to take this very seriously, as every contact you don’t make with another person could save many lives.
We recognize gardeners have many questions about best practices of community gardening while practicing social distance, as well as what it means to community garden during a “shelter in place” order. Attached below is a set of guidelines we strongly encourage gardeners to follow. We strongly encourage everyone who is able to follow the general rule of isolating in place (this will save lives). If you do visit your garden, please do everything you can to stay safe for both yourself and your community by practicing vigilant social distancing.
We hope that in May, there will be more small opportunities to be outside together. In the meantime, our strong hope is that community gardeners can play their role to “flatten the curve” and limit the spread of the virus. Please share these guidelines with your gardening family and network.
Stay tuned for more updates, and be well, please.