Our society is in the midst of a series of interconnected crises. At Black Diamond we believe that at the root of these crises is a lack of connection; lack of connection amongst each other and lack of connection with the natural world. To aid in re-establishing these human and ecological connections we are using our imaginations to establish a public backyard that is broad enough for: collaborations, leisure, gardening, meditation, recreation, art, music, organizing, and advocacy. We as a group hope to re-imagine how life is lived here in Greensboro. We hope to foster a greater sense of overall connection by practicing what we have learned, by sharing our experiences, and by continuing to learn with and from the community around us. We have seen this sort of re-imagining in practice around the country and the world. We have also talked to enough folks around town to know that there is a yearning for broader, accessible connections within our city that promote a balanced urban lifestyle.
To give an idea of the spaces and places that have inspired us, here is a list and a brief description of each:
Prinzessinnengarten (Princess Graden)- Berlin, Germany http://prinzessinnengarten.net
Nomadic Gardens- London, England http://nomadicgardens.weebly.com
The Farm at Penny Lane- Chatham County, NC http://farmatpennylane.org
Farm Church- Durham, NC http://www.farmchurch.org
SEEDs- Durham, NC http://www.seedsnc.org
Peacehaven- Whitsett, NC http://www.peacehavenfarm.org
Before we declare the backyard as Greensboro’s space we are seeking to engage the surrounding community for input, namely the Cedar St./Bellemeade and Westerwood neighborhoods because first and foremost they are our neighbors. This engagement is especially important for the Cedar Street neighborhood as the Black Diamond site is their most accessible green space. We are all learning alongside the community for this project. We are learning, namely, that patience is required for this process and we ask folks to be patient with us as we are figuring out all the nuances involved with the community organizing around this particular project and location. Our learning curve and limited funding requires that we take it slow as we all have to make a living outside of Black Diamond in order to pursue this passion project. Our slow approach also enables us to take in our neighbors’ inputs as we move along so that the space is for the community, by the community. However we need enough infrastructure in order to garner people’s support and attract donors and qualify for grants that will help the space grow.
We are working with a Guilford College student, Will Bryer to help us build garden beds for community plots. Down the line we hope to work with artists to create community-based, public art. We want to collaborate with local musicians to have music in the backyard. We want to collaborate with our neighbors to plan and envision the space. In the end, we want the space to be a thriving community center with the intention to reconnect. We realize that our vision is broad, but we intend to keep it broad in order to engage a variety of different groups and people. Black Diamond will not flourish without engagement from the community.