Carol Shearer-Best P ’18

Nestled on Fort Hill, just steps from John Eliot Square, is Cooper Gardens, where I volunteer as a garden coordinator. We call it our Intergenerational Urban Oasis. This space allows people with small or shady yards a place to grow fresh produce for health and wellness. In addition, it’s a space for neighbors to meet and for community elders to pass down gardening techniques to younger generations. About ten years ago, I joined the garden and have had the opportunity to learn from several master gardeners. When one of the coordinators retired a few years back, I stepped into the role. There are plots and chores to be assigned, dues to be collected, tools to be inventoried, seeds to be ordered and distributed, produce to be donated to the food pantry, watering & weeding for a gardener on vacation, shoveling and bringing horse manure from west of the city to feed the compost pile, and even shoveling the sidewalks in the winter. Along with working with neighbors who have garden plots, I also had the opportunity to join a fellow gardener and speak about volunteerism at Boston University to students who have joined us for garden projects, and to lecture about building a Compost Pallet Bin System at the Master Urban Gardening class at Boston Natural Areas Network. One of my favorite moments was witnessing children’s amazement as they watched seeds they planted grow into melons and realized that fruit comes from the earth before it reaches the grocery store. It is truly an Intergenerational Urban Oasis.