Substandard: A Short Story of Hope

foxgloves ms museum of art april 23

The young boy rushes home after school to his substandard neighborhood. The buildings are in disrepair and there is water draining from broken pipes. There is much hunger in the neighborhood.

Across the street from the boy’s home is a vacant lot filled with trash. The city has posted a sign that the lot may be used to plant a garden by the neighborhood. The children of the neighborhood have decided to try an experiment with this lot.

One of the women in the neighborhood has given each child a packet of seeds for various vegetables. A local store has donated some bags of dirt and mulch. The children gather at the site with an exciting plan for the garden.

Each child will use their talents to grow and tend to the garden. One child has been reading a book on how to fertilize dirt. Another child has been reading a book on how much water the vegetables require. It is a team effort for the children.

The children begin their work and clear the litter. The dirt is spread and the seeds are planted. One child creates a makeshift irrigation system so leaking water will water the plants. Other children weed and check on the garden each day.

Soon the garden has produced fresh vegetables and the bounty is distributed throughout the neighborhood. Hope has replaced despair as the issue of hunger is lessened. A small group of children is making a difference.

Years pass and this small group of children have turned into adults. Many of these young adults have returned to the neighborhood and are now revitalizing the buildings. A small garden tended by children has changed the identity of a neighborhood.

Where there was once substandard living has turned into hope for a brighter future.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce





<a href=””>Substandard</a&gt;

via Daily Prompt: Substandard


  1. How nice! Is this based on a true story? I have of course heard of such garden projects in similar neighborhoods. Gardening is such a rewarding task.

    • Thank you. This story is based on a summer camp project that I saw when teaching piano in an inner city summer camp. The kids in the camp grew vegetables and donated them to the community center that fed them and the homeless each day. It was a wonderful learning experience for all. Thanks for reading.

Comments are closed.