A garden’s impact

Short-term teams are having lasting impact in integrated community transformation through partnership.  Here’s one way a short-term team impacted a community by creating and launching an urban garden as they worked alongside our team and the immigrants who live there.

The opportunity arose unexpectedly. Instead of traveling internationally, this short-term team found themselves heading to a small community in a U.S. city. They discovered that they came at the perfect time and were able to serve in a simple, yet encouraging way.

A leader of this community’s local mosque had recently purchased a house in the community for a dollar. The area surrounding this building was riddled with trash and garbage making it impossible to imagine this being used for anything meaningful.

Our team envisioned this area being used for something of value within the community, so with the help of the short-term team, together they cleared the ‘dollar’ house and surrounding area of its debris.

This set the stage for increased partnership among the people that our workers were bringing together in this community. Because of the hard work of this short-term team to clear the land, the local ITeams workers were given the privilege to use this property for anything they desired. They launched an experiment in urban farming, and subsequently, the growing of peppers.

Peppers were strategically chosen because one of the time-tested ways to combat homesickness is through food. Simply smelling or tasting familiar food can remind anyone of home. They knew that these peppers would represent home to the immigrants, and they were eager to grow something that would encourage them.

After an abundant growing season, ITeams’ workers were able to give away these peppers to the local immigrant community. Because of this simple garden vegetable reminded them of home, opportunities for deeper relationships have flourished.

Our team in the community hopes to build upon the impact of this garden by expanding the gardening to become a source of income and microenterprise for this immigrant community this summer. This garden, cleared by a short-term team, has helped set the stage for transformation.

To learn more about how you can be a part of a short-term team, contact stteams@iteams.org or visit our website http://www.iteams.us/short-term-teams-2/