What Will You ‘Leaf’ Behind?

Community members shared their stories – now they’re growing into new life in Savannah’s urban gardens.

By Gabriela Valez

Yes it’s a pun. But it’s a pun with good intentions.

SA/GA is a project that aims to bring people together and foster resilience within the local community of Savannah. It encapsulates the spirit of Savannah’s rich cultural history, uniqueness, inclusiveness, and innovation through stories, relationships, and wisdom.

These stories become the legacies of the citizens, and our team wanted to find out what those legacies might be. For the Savannah Earth Day Festival in Forsyth Park on April 15th, our team created an opportunity for citizens of Savannah to share their stories. We asked festival goers to “Tell us a story of when you felt close to your community.”

People told us stories about their neighbors helping out during hurricane Matthew. Children reminded us of simple gestures of kindness that we all too easily forget; picking up a friend when they fall and loving your family. SCAD students, regardless of their time in Savannah were all able to tell stories of human kindness. Tourists and vacationers let us know that they loved the history and sense of community inherently built into Savannah which caused them to chose Savannah as a destination time and time again.

Most people were excited just to share a bit of themselves and their love for the city. They were more excited when we told them how their stories would live on.

We wanted to create something that would last longer than the day of the festival – something that people could share.

We created an instagram page for SA/GA to share pictures of people with their stories and encouraged them to post their own with #saga. But we wanted something physical that people could see a change over time. So, during our one hour workshop at the festival, we asked people to share stories already written or write their own if they hadn’t already. We taught everyone how to fold the stories into origami hearts to hold seeds for bush beans. If they wanted to be able to identify their origami heart, they decorated a wooden paint stick to identify exactly which story is theirs.

We worked with the SCAD gardening club to learn how and where to plant Savannah’s stories, and Cassandra walked us through the ideal spacing and depth for each individual seed to make sure the plants grow and flourish. We’re excited about what will grow there as the result of community sharing. We’re also happy to be building on a legacy ourselves, as we share strong ideas that have bubbled up in the past, and carry them forward.

Everyone who shared their story is invited to the SCAD community garden on April 22 to plant their stories and watch them grow.

We hope to see you there!

Follow us on Instagram at @your_sa_ga.

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