July 11, 2019

Narrative: Cannon Greens Garden closed for contamination

Willow Jordan enjoys the fruits of her labor as she picks strawberries in her garden.  Photo by Amy Jordan|||| Willow Jordan enjoys the fruits of her labor as she picks strawberries in her garden. Photo by Amy Jordan|||| ||||

By Willow Jordan

My family has a special plot in the Cannon Greens community garden by the Sorenson Center in Glendale. When the garden was all growing it was beautiful! There were flowers in our garden, and there was shade and lots of nice places to rest.

My family grew things like sunflowers, carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and other kinds of flowers and vegetables. We made lots of food with the vegetables we grew there, like chicken soup, salads, spaghetti sauce, baked potatoes with butter on them (that’s my favorite!) mashed potatoes with gravy, French fries, and canned green beans.

I have a picture of my friend Ruby and me in the garden. We were playing with a two-year-old girl whose family is from Africa. They have a garden plot there too. We were playing hide and seek with the little girl. She would say “I found you!” and then we would have to find her (but it was really easy). When we would “hide,” we just had to stay in one spot and we talked and told each other stories until she found us. 

I feel really sad because we can’t go to the garden anymore because the City found BAP (benzo[a]pyrene) in the soil and so they closed it all up and won’t let us back in. BAP comes from burning wood or coal and putting the ashes in the soil. It also comes from wood, like railroad ties, that is treated with chemicals.

I interviewed Bridget Stuchly and Debbie Lyons who work at the City & County Building. Debbie is the director of the office of Sustainability and Bridget is the program manager in the Sustainability office for SLC’s community garden program. Van Hoover came too. He works for Wasatch Community Gardens and helps in our garden.

It’s really sad that our garden was closed, but they said we will be able to use it again after they replace the bad soil with fresh new soil. Bridget said it will take a year and a half and they will make a “clean, fun, and safe place for everyone.” They are going to ask how the people in the community want it to be like. If they ask me, I’m going to tell them to keep the playground!

I feel really bad about pollution, like what’s in my garden, and when people chop down trees with machines, and the machines make pollution and the trees are the plants that clean the air. Pollution is a very big problem because babies, people and animals get sick from it. Our planet is getting dirtier and dirtier and sicker and sicker and soon it will be so dirty that all the beautiful places won’t be beautiful anymore. Almost all the animals will be extinct from what we are doing.

I want to make a big change. I want all the houses to have solar panels because then we won’t use as much coal for electricity that makes pollution. And I want all the cars to be electric cars, because even though they make pollution when they make the car, they don’t when we drive them. And I also want everyone to pick up garbage and not throw trash on the ground and to recycle more. Also we should drink tap water and not the water in the plastic bottles, but if you do have to use them, you should refill it lots of times from the drinking fountain.  

I hope the garden opens again soon because then people could grow good food for their families. At the garden they give you your own space to plant seeds. It isn’t only for food; it’s for beauty too. People from other places can come too like from Mexico, or like the little girl from Africa or even China, then they will feel welcome in the garden.

If we start here in a little place and make a big change then maybe the change will spread and spread and spread and soon the world will be a better place.

Willow Jordan is a seven-year-old Glendale resident, who has been gardening since she learned to walk. Her mother, Amy Jordan, provided assistance with this story. The Cannon Greens Garden is located at 773 W. 1300 South in Salt Lake City, Utah.