At the end of my street behind our local Milk Bar at the intersection of two cobbled laneways, there was once an abandoned and dilapidated community garden. Amongst the long unruly grass were two raised vegetable beds overflowing with noxious weeds and about ten fruit trees crying out for love and attention. Presiding over this sad forlorn garden, was an enormous and magnificent fig tree showing little sign of life.
On the 8th of September, three neighbours announced (via a new Facebook group) that they had a plan to bring it back to life. Now, just nine days later, the group has 63 members, the weeds have been cleared, the trees can breathe and the whole garden has been mulched ready for planting. And the fig tree? It’s applauding this most exquisite collaboration between humans and nature with a vigorous display of new leaves and hundreds of tiny new figs.
All this, in one of the harshest lock-downs in the world right here in Melbourne!
(Here’s the before and after photos, minus the fig tree sorry.)
The cultural anthropologist and author Margaret Mead, once wrote… “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
If a small group of thoughtful citizens can achieve this in just nine days in lock-down, what might be possible in a post-pandemic world?
Here’s where I come clean and admit I’ve made zero contribution to the garden so far. My excuse is that I’m up to my eyeballs in writing Community Rising and the community food project for our own apartment block.
In my own neighbourhood and right across Australia there are so many great community projects emerging that it’s impossible to keep up with them. Through my research and interviews, I’m discovering the secret ingredients that make a community tick and stick together. It’s been humbling, revealing and hugely heart-warming.
But mostly, it’s leaving me with an overwhelming feeling of hope in humanity. Day by day my conviction is building that it will be WE. THE. PEOPLE. in our streets and neighbourhoods that will rebuild our society, not our so-called leaders.
Look closely and you’ll see sweet little community project opportunities everywhere in your neighbourhood. Maybe there’s one just right for you? All it takes is a handful of people who care and who are willing to act. Sooner rather than later. Lock-down or no lock-down.
It’s time for community to rise and take its rightful place in the rebuilding of society and the new economy. Thank you for joining me on the journey. If you know of anyone with a communitarian spirit that would like to be kept abreast of this work, please suggest they subscribe.
As a thank you for following me, I’m offering The Purpose Project Course for just $97 (RRP $297) today. Use the coupon code ‘Purpose2020’.
As always, if I can be of service reach out. I’m here. I care.
About me: I’m a Purpose Educator and author of The Purpose Project. I help leaders attract and retain the best people by harnessing the power of deep purpose and storytelling. I do this through The Purpose Project for Companies, a customised consultative process for co-creating a new purpose statement and The Purpose Project Course, a 7-step online course to help employees bring their own why to work.