The Happily Natural Grow Truck is a key component of our urban gardener program. One barrier to the development of urban greening solutions is access to tools. The truck will be a “lending library” of tools, a rolling workshop, portable storage shed, and a mobile payload of donated plants, soil, compost, lumber, and other building materials. It will deliver its cargo of supplies to urban greening sites around the city free of charge, equipping volunteers in schools, community gardens, churches, and civic associations with the materials they need to create successful neighborhood beautification and urban agriculture projects. The truck will help expand local capacity for urban greening across a variety of grassroots organizations.
The proposed Happily Natural Grow Truck will do more than solve the practical problems of growing a garden. It will host conversations about the local narrative, capturing, recording, and sharing the history that makes each community rich and dynamic. Community storytelling helps build cultural maps that identify community strengths and resources. It also allows community members to build authentic relationships through dialogue and the praxis action/reflection.
Neighborhood residents, community organizations, and businesses all experience place from different vantage points. Using community stories to plan, design, and implement green space creates a connection to a place that is resilient. Storytelling allows for deeper community awareness and gives volunteers from outside the community some context for the work they are contributing to. Through community storytelling sessions, the work of building a garden evolves from an abstract idea into a meaningful reality: “this work that I do today contributes to a bigger picture that I myself am now a part of.” By hosting community storytelling circles in tandem with the development of community greenspace, the Happily Natural Grow Truck will amplify authentic community narratives through the lens of transparent community transformation.
Community Story Telling will consist of two-hour recording sessions facilitated by urban gardeners at neighborhood green spaces. Urban gardeners use the group facilitation skills acquired in training to coordinate storytelling circles as a component of the volunteer workday. Each session is audio-based, allowing for community members to share their visions, hopes, aspirations, and most importantly the history of their community. These dynamic community narratives will be made available online on our website and social media for wider dissemination and amplification.