The lot behind Davey’s Market had been vacant for years, until a few neighbors decided to change that. Maria Barbosa was one of them. The lot, which she can see from her house, was not nice to look at, she said. So she talked to the market’s owners about using it to grow food. Maria, along with family, friends, and neighbors transformed the space. They use the land to grow corn, beans, squash collards, peanuts, and more. Some of these crops, which are traditional Cape Verdean varieties, cannot be easily found in the stores.
"When I see things growing, something in my soul is in place."
I like gardening, and when I see the things growing. Instead of buying it, you have your own. It’s nice, fresh. When you make it, you feel very comfortable. So it’s the same here in my garden. And this helps a lot at home. Some friends come help and I send them vegetables you can’t find to buy sometimes. So we give them those vegetables and they get happy.
In Cape Verde we garden. My town is all gardens around the house, so we all do. The gardens are very, very big. You have to pay some people to do for you, or you have to share with other people and do it together.
Here, six to eight people work in the garden. Mostly it’s the neighbors. We are really friends. When I was started the first year, it was just a little piece down there, and then the next year we did a little bit more, and this year we are trying to do the whole thing. We try to grow everything.
This year was excellent. Sometimes the neighbors stand there and they watch and watch. Sometimes they come in and help. Everyone passes on the street and they sometimes stop and say, “Oh you are working? You did that? Oh, it’s nice!
I believe next year is going to be better.