Constructing a community garden in comuna 13

An experience creating a community garden

Gardens are important. A nice garden can provide an opportunity to escape reality, a place to reflect or even just the chance to sit outside and enjoy a minute in the sunshine. Gardens are a place where we can sit and appreciate nature, gardens are where we can socialise, gardens are where we can breathe fresh air. The team at PRIME know that gardens are important and, for this very reason, teamed up with Aventureros Perdidos to design and construct a community garden in the Comuna 13.

The planning process involved months of hard work from volunteers and a dedicated team from the Comuna working together to design a garden space that the whole neighbourhood would be able to enjoy. As a collective we decided that functionality was just as important as the aesthetic appeal and therefore decided that the practicality of herbs, fruits and vegetables would compliment the natural beauty and air-cleansing qualities of a wide variety of flowers.

The map was sketched. The bottles were painted. The plants and seeds had been procured. The day had arrived. Over the following four days the team worked together through immense heat and powerful sun. Energies were high and community spirit was beautifully visible as Colombians and foreigners sweated together, exchanged jokes, shared knowledge and experience and came together as one to work. And we worked hard! Energised from the constant supply of juices from neighbouring houses, the team powered through four hard manual days in order to realise their vision. The team utilised their variety of strengths to cooperatively give the entire space a new look – a grand total of four different miniature garden spaces with a variety of plants and seeds; a unique hanging bottle garden created by students from the classes; a small border and water irrigation system; repainted steps and railings; a stunning sunflower mural; the team even utilised their creativity and decided to recycle two old toilets by cementing them next to the garden and planting flowers in the bowl!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so, after having worked pretty continuously from Thursday morning through to Sunday afternoon, it only seemed appropriate to inaugurate the newly finished Stairway to English community garden with an afternoon party. A great big pot of Sancocho soup bubbled over an open fire, whilst children cartwheeled in the patio. Tired volunteers cracked open a well-deserved beer and shared a cheers with the neighbouring community, as the classic reggaeton playlist blasted through the speakers until everybody was dancing in unison. Children, adults, locals and foreigners all came together for a beautiful moment to share a memory in this vibrant new community space. Hopefully it was the first of many.


Picture of Andy Farquhar

Andy Farquhar

volunteer, teacher, co-founder