More Community Gardens In Chinatown. (Why you should write in a vote for me Next Sunday 11/29 for Chinatown Neighborhood Council.)
So next Sunday, in 7 days there will be an election for South Cove/Chinatown Neighborhood council at 9am to 5pm at the Santander Bank on 61 Harrison Avenue. I announced on Facebook that I was running and even though it is short notice and you will have to write me in, I am not joking. Even if somehow you're vote won't count if you write me in, I still would really want everyone to show up and do that... write in Adam Cheung. Because it would say something, even if it didn't count. I mean could say that a lot of elections don't count and are more of a ritual. But this will count because I have learned through this blog, that I can make stuff happen even without a position with a title. So imagine what I can do WITH a position with a title.
But anyway, Grace said my next 7 posts should be about why I should have a spot on the neighborhood council.
So what would I be pushing for?
Well this probably won't come up much on the council unless I scream about it but my main thing that I have fire in the belly about are these simple things.
2. Composting bins.
3.Play areas for kids.
and the last one sounds like a crazy stretch but would you believe I've already started planning for it.....is a school. A new middle school that will seek to bridge the gap between the gentrified parents and the new immigrant parents... a way to keep the culture in Chinatown even if the faces are more diverse. And actually a version of that can grow right out of community gardens
So yeah this picture is in Jamaica Plain, not Chinatown. Yeah there are closer Community Gardens to Chinatown. The one I know best is that one in the South End across from Castle Square. It kind of looks yuppified now. But we could always use MORE community gardens. There are a few empty lots that could be used, that are disgusting. There are probably some plans for it already. But look at these kids, having fun with gardening.
My friend form the Dudley Square Street Initiative, Adrian Rosello-Cornier, worked on setting up a farm in the middle of the city. It's run by a local farming company, and some plots are for residential gardens. He said a lot of the people moving into Chinatown would probably love organic food in their Chinese restaurants. And guess what, Old Chinese ladies love gardening. It's just one of the stereotypes because... they may have actually done some farming back in China. It would empower them to do this and to teach this to the next generation... along with stories and culture.
It could happen. It's a big deal. But where would we put a garden go? Well... how about here.
Yeah that land probably is being developed as we speak, but to tell the truth a lot of the land that is owned by projects would be better as community Gardens. And not just for the residents who would garden on them.... but also for the companies that manage the property. Why? How much money is spent in the upkeep of such a place? Chemical fertilizers, sprinklers that water cement....it's a lot of work and a lot of money. It would look good for those companies to help host a community garden, and it would also be good for them. Another place is that Public Tufts Park. Someone mentioned that it felt like it didn't belong to the community. Well Why not push for a Community Garden there too?
And look at this park that just got built.
It looks fantastic, (the park) but the picture is of the sprinkler water going into little panda's playground. A good deal of water was just watering cement. The water was spraying nonstop in frigid weather for three days. That's a waste of money. Taxpayer money. City money. Built some boxes out there with dirt. Bam Community garden. Who would garden it? The poor and rich a like. You would have new immigrants, Pau Paus who don't speak English and young hippies gardening together.
And okay maybe people really like this park. But how much does it cost? And the first time I saw it I thought, "Where the hell is the Community Garden?"
There are reasons people give for not having these gardens. "Drunks doing drugs. People having sex in there or shooting up or relieving themselves."
Maybe it won't be as Utopian as I describe. Maybe people will argue about stolen Pumpkin Greens and fungus caused by Sunflowers. But overall, it will be a good thing. And the city will save money. Can I get it done? I don't know. But remember I did help get this done.
Not by myself of course.
There are quite a few community leaders in that picture and many more whom you don't see. This was a combined effort by AACA, Chinatown Main Street, Tai Tung Village, and the Boston Police and Parks and Rec. But it kind of was me who pointed my finger at this playground and started doing something a little crazy and drastic. I called a dump a dump, and I decided to do something which seemed futile. Sweep up once a week for 20 minutes to an hour. The first time... was gross. Look at this link to my first post about a sweep. But yo... I did it. And part of what I wanted to do with this is get younger people involved.
Most of what the Neighborhood Council will do is probably just vote on propositions for new condos, restaurants and clubs.... that sort of thing. But yeah I'll push my agenda too. which is what you see in this blog post. And honestly as Lydia Lowe said, "The neighborhood Council was once seen as the voice of Chinatown. And that is no longer true." But I know I can do something with that position.
Because I can do something without any position.
Imagine if every Asian kid over 16 in the surrounding high schools and colleges can and voted for me by writing in? I would win for sure. Because not that many people vote in these elections.
I would do my thing serve my two years or whatever, and then tried to pull someone young who is better than me at this social media game into this. And then next time they'll run and carry that one. (I mean I'll still be around, but my aim is not to just sit on this position if I win. It will be to get all the younger people involved.) It will create a movement for change in Chinatown that really is grassroots and where more young people are involved. But through these community spaces and gardens, the old people will have a very important role too, and the culture won't just be swept away.
The sweeping away will be for the heroin needles and feces in the park. And maybe we can get some compost bins for the leaves.