Property wrongs - Page 2

Why was the owner of a long-dormant vacant lot so upset to see it sprout a community garden?

"Green space in San Francisco is very valuable to all residents," said Jude Koski, director of the San Francisco Garden Resource Organization (SFGRO), a local community gardening organization that is willing to help broker a deal over the land. "It is a wonderful way to engage the community. It's an opportunity for people to come together who wouldn't otherwise be coming together." According to a 2004 survey by the Recreation and Park Department, 47 percent of San Franciscans would like to see more community gardens in the city.

The two sides have reached something of an impasse: O'Driscoll wants the garden gone, Citywide says it has no choice but to follow her orders, and the gardeners don't want the lot to go back to dirt and weeds.

But even if they lose this lot, the gardeners see the fight as ongoing. "We want to see this garden not just be bound by the concrete that is all around it but be something that will inspire people and help them know they can utilize vacant land in their neighborhoods," Valone said. "People can take responsibility for beautifying and creating important and useful resources for themselves and their neighbors in the space around them. Whether you're a renter, whether you own land or not, you can still take responsibility for land and utilize it." *