In 2017 the regional government was considering reclaiming a neglected lot in San Francisco, Nayarit. At the time the lot was being used as a trash dump. Local activists and volunteers imagined transforming the space into a tranquil public park, but they had to hurry to make their dream a reality before the government moved to annex the “unused” land.
Organizers envisioned an “edible garden” for the community; a space to grow native trees, bushes and herbs, where everyone would be welcome to contribute or relax and enjoy nature. Classes on local plants and animals would be given to the children from nearby schools. Armed with a plan for the placement of plants and paths through the space, volunteers now faced the task of clearing a mountain of debris full of scorpions, spiders and rodents.
With help from community center Entreamigos, Travler arranged a bulldozer and dump truck to clear and level the lot. After two days’ heavy work, while carefully avoiding desirable plants and trees, the lot was cleared and ready for planting. Travler also funded and provided labor to install a water line and hose bib in the middle of the lot so that the garden could be irrigated.
The Magic Garden (“Jardín Mágico”) is an inspiring sustainability success story. It illustrates how a community can claim, restore and share a sustainable public space for the common good. Marjo Guyot and other amazing volunteers work there almost every day, and the Magic Garden continues to receive loving support from Entreamigos, Project LILHA and generous contributors. For more information on the project, see this Facebook link.
At this time, visitors sit on tree stumps, and there are no signs or guides to the plants in the garden. Travler’s next goals are (1) to raise funds to install 4 to 6 public bench seats, at a cost of about $220 USD per bench, and (2) to pay a local artist to paint signs with the names and uses for the native anchor species found in the garden, at a cost of about $450 USD. Small donations and volunteers are also needed to keep the plants healthy, clear the weeds and walkways, contribute to teachers and artists who present programs, and pay for the water used in the garden.