Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and respect of strength -- in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own. --- Alice Walker
Gardens are places that provide respite and restoration; healing and inspiration. They are also places of connection -- where transformative change can take place, and where we can work to grow the world we want for ourselves and for our communities. Inspired by Alice Walker’s words, the goal of the Black Sanctuary Gardens project is to create and document garden sites where Black women’s creativity, spirituality, and human experience can be cultivated and nurtured.
The Black Sanctuary Gardens project creates restorative landscapes for Black women and communities to rest, heal, connect and be nourished. These sanctuary spaces are developed through a collaborative process that results in gardens that reflect our cultural heritage and ancestral stories, support relationship with nature’s seasons and harvests, and provide a peaceful inspiring place to gather and build connections with family and community.
Landscape designer Leslie Bennett and the team behind the Black Sanctuary Gardens project are curating their time and talent to create these safe spaces that celebrate Black women’s humanity and that of the communities they hold dear within the Oakland, California area. Your support of this project will allow them to provide their gifts at low to no-cost to these valued community members.
Currently, Leslie personally funds at least one sanctuary garden annually through her business, Pine House Edible Gardens. With your donation, we can grow that number, providing more of these spaces to the Oakland community. Your contribution will support the cost of plants, materials, and garden installation.
About Leslie Bennett and Pine House Edible Gardens
Leslie Bennett is the founder of Black Sanctuary Gardens. Raised in the Bay Area and based in Oakland, CA since 2009, Leslie creates gardens that help to nourish us and tell the story of who we are. She graduated from Harvard University, Columbia Law School and the University College London with degrees in the fields of environmental justice, land use law, cultural property and landscape preservation.
Leslie's company, Pine House Edible Gardens, is a landscape design/build firm that creates aesthetic edible gardens and productive outdoor spaces; she is also a writer and co-authored The Beautiful Edible Garden (Ten Speed Press, 2013). Her work entails creating culturally grounded gardens that provide as much visual inspiration as they do organic harvests of food, flowers and medicinal herbs. Leslie's gardens help to root people in their heritage and history, and foster a deep sense of connectedness. Her intention in offering Black Sanctuary Garden spaces is to support Black people and their fight for justice in a way that will continue to nurture the recipients long after the plants are placed in the ground.
Leslie's work has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Sunset Magazine, Garden Design, C Magazine, American Gardener, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Gardenista.com. Visit www.PineHouseEdibleGardens.com.
(Photo credits: Caitlin Atkinson, top; David Fenton, center)
- Flora Jewell-Stern
- MacKenzie Huynh
- Sha Sha Chu
- Samantha Weiss
Fundraising team: BSG -- Collaborative Team (4)
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