Vermont Square Community Garden

Makadu LaBeet has been part of the Vermont Square Community Garden since the garden opened in 1992. He met Ms. Johnson, one of the garden founders, while he was participating in a rehabilitation program nearby. Makadu is originally from the Virgin Islands and appreciates the garden because it allows him to grow the vegetables that he grew up with there. As a vegetarian, this is particularly important to him. He describes himself as Rastafarian and believes in the power of prayer. He prayed that he could work the land and when it came time, Ms. Johnson, the founder of Vermont Square, shared the keys with him and he helped her manage the garden. He used to sleep in the garden in the beginning because his home had burned down. It was during this time that he helped maintain the garden on a daily basis. He describes the garden as a place to get away from anything. “You could have the worst problems in the world, and no one will bother you here, it’s sacred ground.” He shared that the area isn’t the safest but there have been no shootings and he feels that it’s beneficial for the city to have a place like this, especially for the elderly gardeners. He has learned so much about gardening that he shared with confidence should he return to the Virgin Islands, he would apply all his skills, proving just how beneficial this garden has been to him.

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