an alleyway garden

24 Jul



Our alleyway is a lively stretch of street ripe with neighbor

interaction. We run into many bustling to and from their cars. It’s not

foreign to hear our neighbors, who call the streets of Golden Hill

their home, rolling their grocery cart past our window or rummaging

through our garbage. On occasion, a drug deal will go down and a fresh

piece of graffiti will set up shop next to us.  Daily, we will see one

of our neighbors doing his faithful trash clean up of our immediate



So what about us? Well, we couldn’t allow everyone to have their fun

without us getting in on the action. Sooo…with our collective

finances, cheerful hearts and grubby work clothes; we launched our

alley garden on A street. What we have found is that this little

corridor of concrete has unearthed itself as prime real estate for

relationships to begin and it is chalk full of unknown neighbors

becoming more. Becoming friends.




Today, something “other” is sprouting besides our leafy greens and

summer vegetables. The Kingdom of God is coming in Golden Hill in

simple, powerful moments. It comes when an elderly neighbor who

struggles with mental illness plants flowers in our backyard as a

source of life. Or when a  fresh handful of greens is handed to a

neighbor who is hungry. Or to another neighbor who feels safe enough to

come over and plant his own veggies with us.


Gardening for us has become more than caring for the earth and its

field of goodies for personal and collective consumption.  We see it as

partnering in the beauty, nourishment, and bounty of all God’s dreams

for this place.  We see it as another way of planting the roots of our

feet deep into the soil of Golden Hill. We see it as actually

stewarding the space God has given to us so that we can love our

neighbors and neighborhood well.


This little plot of land is creating place for us to be among the

people. When I look at the life of Jesus, he intentionally chose to

dwell, to “pitch his tent”, to be among. And he actually asks us to do

the same. So we pray that we would have eyes to see the faces of all

our neighbors, those visible and hidden, and may we hear their voices.

 May “back alley gardens” be one way that places can become something

home, something good for those who dwell around us.



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