Good Times: the TEDxGreenville Salon at Sans Souci Community Garden

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TEDxGreenville Salon: Not Your Average Garden @ Sans Souci Community Garden

The Tyrant and I love learning new ideas, and we love sharing those ideas with other people even more. We’ve been huge TED fans for a long time, and were part of a small group of folks who decided that Greenville needed to have its very own TEDxGreenville back in 2010 (x=independently organized event), the first event of its kind in SC. The three big annual TEDxGreenville events that we’ve been part of have been hugely successful, selling out quickly every year while also helping to highlight the amazing ideas and talents of people in Upstate, SC and beyond. TEDxGreenville has grown into a wonderful community asset, and we’re still proud to serve on the board and help out where needed.

Every month, TEDxGreenville also hosts smaller “Salon” events that take place in various locations all over Greenville. Last Sunday, we helped out with the “Not Your Average Garden” Salon that took place over at the Sans Souci Community Garden, about 2 miles away from Tyrant Farms. This was really a really inspiring event for us.

The two speakers, Matt Manley (the Community Planning Coordinator at LiveWell Greenville) and Neil Collins (a scientist at Environmental Permitting Consultants), shared their stories about how and why they helped start the garden. Basically, they wanted to help establish a sense of place and sense of community that are all too often missing in modern neighborhoods where people are not only disconnected from the food they eat, but also from the people they live right next door to. Matt and Neil realized that a community garden could help solve these problems, bringing neighbors together for a shared purpose while putting people directly into a relationship with the earth, which—when properly nurtured—will return the favor by producing wholesome, delicious food.

Like a lot of older neighborhoods, Sans Souci has had its shares of ups and downs throughout its rich history. With people like Matt, Neil, and the other Sans Souci gardening members we met (ranging from young children to retirees), it seems pretty clear that this is a place that is reestablishing a shared identity and a true community—with a garden at the center of it all.

It’s going to be fun to watch the Sans Souci Community Garden continue to grow in the years ahead (they’re planting dozens of new fruit trees – courtesy of Trees Greenville – in the next few weeks, which they plan to espalier). That’s one of the many amazing things about a garden: it’s always growing, but it’s never finished… nor is it supposed to be. Ideally, we can also strive to live by that same principle.

Maybe what they’re doing will help inspire you to start or join a community garden, or start growing something tasty right in your own yard! We sure hope so.

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