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Mindful : June 2013
and sit under the canopy of that Yulan magnolia. The Garden for Lea rning and Explor- ing is more interactive. Free classes take place here, such as the program desig ned to connect seniors with seasonal flowers and herbs. The garden slopes about six feet from one end to another, with two different terraces a nd a retaining wall with water cascading down its face to pools below. “ You can sit and listen to the sound of the water,” says Ka mp. “There are rocks spa rkling with mica you can touch. There are pla nts you ca n touch.” Based on their Cleveland success, the designers of the Restorative Garden were asked to create a cha nnel garden at New York’s Rockefeller Center. “ It’s right in the middle of Manhattan, one of the busi- est tourist spots in the city,” says Kamp. “ We tried to create a place with intimacy, where someone could pause in their busy day, where you could just stop for a min- ute. It changes your perspective.” Get Dirty One of Peter Good’s ea rliest memories is going out with his father to their backyard vegetable ga rden in small-town Pennsylvania and digging in the dirt. “My father was in the tree business, but for him it was more than a busi- ness. It was a calling,” Good says. “He handed down to me the joy of getting dirty up past my elbows, of helping make something grow. And when you taste the sweetness of something freshly picked that you planted with your own hands, it’s medicina l. We need that.” Good moved to Sa n Fra ncisco 30 years ago and started designing and building urban gardens. When you drive with him up and down the hills and around the waterways of the Bay Area, he tells you what grew before people were around and what people planted since. He talks about soil like some people talk about foie gras. “As far as I’m concerned, you don’t fully know where you live until you’ve churned up the topsoil and explored what lies beneath,” he says. Good is a big fan of Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway, who operate Little City Gardens in San Francisco and ser ve restaurants, residents, and farmers’ ma rkets. They’re now tilling an acre in the Excelsior district, a modest residen- tial neighborhood where Good and his crew have just installed an irrigation system for them. What he’d really love to do is uncover (or “daylight”) a stream that runs beneath the urban farm— the city covered it more than 50 years ago—and pla nt vegetables along its banks. But that’s a dream for another day. Budner and Galloway are local heroes for successfully lobbying the city to allow urban farming. The folks who urban-garden love the food they grow, but they love something else just as much. They get a chance, says Budner, “to be outside, to have a break from their indoor lives, their computer lives. They get to use different parts of their bodies and they enjoy a landscape that doesn’t involve a window.” Sa n Francisco’s architecture offers lots of flat roofs, which ma ke perfect gardens. “I was planting a set of onions the other day on my roof, and I flashed on that memory of my dad teaching me to dig in the ga rden,” Good says. “Call it nostal- gia or whatever, but it gave me an idea.” Good climbed down from the roof and looked for his neighbor’s four-year-old son. He helped the boy plant the onions in a little spot in his front ya rd. “Digging in the dirt is in our DNA,” Goode says. “It’s harder to do that in the urban environments most of us live in now, but it’s not all that hard. Get out there on a sunny weekend, plant a seed, and take a kid with you. You’ll love it.” ● 80% 80 % of Americans live in cities, according to the 2010 US Census. Carsten Knox is associate editor of Mindful. 40 mindful June 2013 nature