Giving Gardens founder, Christopher Harms, became motivated to start a community driven effort to fight food insecurity after reading Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America details the rise of poverty in suburban communities over the last 30 years, but most specifically between 2000-2010, and the how the effects of the market crash of 2007 and subsequent recession has impacted this rise in suburban poverty. Suburban poverty is far more camouflaged than poverty in what is classified as the “urban core.” Poverty can exist anywhere in suburban communities, not just certain areas that have traditionally been assumed as “low-income.” -- it could be any one of our neighbors.
If we, as a community of neighbors, can understand that, and truly internalize that, does that change our willingness to help? Chris thought it would, and it's what inspired him to create Giving Gardens. Creating community awareness of food insecurity, and building local sustainable means, became the building blocks of Giving Gardens. Our beds are physical, tangible reminders that food insecurity can touch anyone, at any time -- even the white collar worker next door.
To date, we have placed over 50 garden beds in neighborhoods and have donated over 500 pounds of fresh produce. We have been featured in the White Bear Press, and our message is getting out. This is a testament to the tight-knit community in the White Bear Lake area, and proof that awareness and action can make positive change.
Giving Gardens is a sponsored Community Project of the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation.