Twenty years after Gloria Page (Fall 2021) moved into her home in Brewerytown, she found a community garden around the corner. She struck up a conversation with neighbor Edward Branch working there and got a plot. Now, she organizes programming as a member of the garden’s steering committee. Over eleven years, the garden has become a site for community, connection, and pride for Gloria.
The Brewerytown Garden was always a community hub. Once the covid pandemic hit, Gloria and other gardeners worked to bring that community past the garden’s fence. First, they began giving away food boxes every Saturday to keep their neighbors fed. Then, with the help of a Cooking Matters grant, they hosted weekly virtual cooking classes for kids and families to cook together.
Kids displaying their art at the Family Paint Party
Working together during the Children Crocheting Workshop
Gloria and Ms. Mcfadden, an elder in the garden
Programming at the Brewerytown Garden has blossomed. Gloria and her team (shout out to Miranda Mont, Estella Pressley, Vicki Mines, Jameelah Hairston, Ebony Bennett, and Abigail Ege) are hosting events, activities, and celebrations there every Sunday June through August. This summer, Gloria has helped to plan and execute events centered around cooking, like their “A Taste of African Heritage” lessons with nutritionist Vicki Mines, health and wellness, like blood-pressure checks, and arts and crafts lessons such as pottery and crochet. “Everybody, they really loved [crochet]. It was meant for the kids, but the parents jumped in. So hey, everybody was learning how to crochet!”
Things haven’t always been easy for the members of the Brewerytown Garden. Pressures of gentrification in Brewerytown have seeped into the garden community. But for Gloria and others, the changing neighborhood has offered a chance to bring a diverse community together.
We had to really work to get, you know, people to come in the garden and everything...At times like it was kind of rocky, but by us doing all these different activities, people that come into the garden now they, you know, they feel comfortable. Gloria Page
Bringing people together is what brought Gloria to CPI. In addition to learning about zoning and other planning issues, she was interested in how her garden can be a tool for the community. The new CPI-in-a-Box resource has been especially helpful.
“There are a bunch of tools that we can use from the box…they had a section on how to plan events and stuff like that, and where to look for information and everything…anybody can pick it up and follow it.”
Now Gloria is an involved member of CPI’s alumni network. She is excited to connect with her virtual cohort this Fall.
In the meantime, the Brewerytown Garden has come a long way. In February 2023, Gloria said that her dream for the garden is to host a community health fair—bringing healthcare professionals and members of the community together to discuss common medical issues and ways to stay healthy. Since then, she helped coordinate several events where nurses come to the garden to speak with seniors about blood-pressure and heart health.
Community members in the Brewerytown Garden
But there’s always more to do. The Brewerytown Garden is looking forward to a Jazz Festival at the end of the summer, a big celebration in September, the second annual costume party this fall— “We did our first one and it turned out great. So we’re going to do it every year now, so the kids can have someplace safe to go” —and who knows how many events in between. And, as always, they continue to host a farm stand each Saturday.