“Hello, can I help you?”
“Yes, my name is Vicente. I’m here door knocking in the neighborhood. We’re trying to get neighbors together to convert that abandoned lot around the corner into a neighborhood garden.”
This was me 7 years ago in a repeated conversation opener, held countless numbers of times, walking up and down a three block radius in an East Oakland neighborhood suffering from years of public neglect and lack of access to healthy food. With nothing more than a bundle of scrappy flyers grasped tightly in my hands, I went door knocking to talk to residents about improving the conditions of their neighborhood through the garden.