by Margaret Ryan
This Saturday (May 19) will be a watershed day at Unity Village of White Center – its children will be planting the beginning of a long awaited ‘community garden.’
The soil has been prepared by the residents, and the plants have been purchased. Children and adults alike will be tending the garden through the long summer ahead and reap the benefits of the vegetables and herbs before long. The bright pansies will provide color and joy.
What makes Unity Village a special place? For one thing, Unity Village is the “brainchild” of three development organizations: Capitol Hill Housing, White Center Community Development Association, and Delridge Neighborhood Development Association. These three entities were given tax credit status by the federal government to build low income housing. This status requires extensive reporting and verification of all tenant resources. Thirty lucky families were found qualified and moved in last October/November.
The resident mix makes you think you are living in a cosmopolis. You see tenants wearing everything from a bikini to a mufti. You hear chatter in Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Farsi. The neat thing is that everyone is tolerated and respected. Tenants are encouraged to resolve any problems with their neighbors by working things out among themselves. If that doesn’t work, management is more than willing to assist.
Unity Village’s mantra is to provide a rich life experience for its residents. There are activities for kids and adults alike – including math games, Zumba and field trips. The children’s play area is a beehive of racing bicycles and trikes, where new friends are made and alliances formed. Elders and single residents alike benefit by the buzz created daily in the play area.
Unity Village is truly a social experiment for modern times. The vibe is to promote understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between all peoples. Its dedicated manager tries to relate to all residents’ cultural differences. And it’s a nice mix of young and old.
On Saturday, the children will be encouraged to insert a plant into the prepared soil and make it their own. The hope is that the children will care and respect all the garden and have an investment in its success.
Stay tuned for a follow-up about the community garden at Unity Village We are all waiting for the garden and the community to ”bloom where it’s planted.”