It is a great time to be a gardener in Portland (“Magazine ranks Portland among ‘greenest’ cities,” April 4). As the project coordinator for Brentwood Farms in the Deering Center neighborhood, I was pleased to attend the citywide garden forum that was hosted by the Department of Public Services on March 19.

It was very exciting to be among so many city gardeners and urban farming enthusiasts, who recognize the value that community gardens bring to the residents of our city. Portland is changing, moving toward a greener and more sustainable way of life as more and more families enjoy the financial, health and social benefits of community gardening.

At Brentwood Farms, we used a grant from Healthy Portland to expand our Common Share community-supported agriculture and help build a children’s garden.

We were also very grateful to receive a seed grant from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, which helped us fill our beds with affordable, organic produce for local families.

This year, our garden will provide 67 individual garden plots for Deering Center residents, and the entire neighborhood will benefit from the fruit trees and berry patches that will bear fruit this season for the first time.

We look forward to working with the city’s working group to help identify other parcels of land that can and should be used for community garden space, and we hope that someday soon every Portland resident who wants to join a community garden is able to do so.

Elizabeth Tarasevich

project coordinator, Brentwood Farms Community Garden

Portland

‘Social justice’ doesn’t fit with our Founders’ vision

Most Americans assume that all views are equally valid, acceptable and “American.” Not so! There is a well-defined concept of “freedom” that is distinctly “American.” The Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers and U.S. Constitution together describe a coherent and systematic notion of “freedom.”

Our Founders’ vision of freedom is breathtaking! Personal initiative, individual conscience and free expression are enshrined as the core good. Active citizenship involves the practice of personal choice in private and the advocacy of unique perspectives in public. Private property guarantees one’s freedom from government coercion.

Government is constrained and divided against itself because government is seen to be a necessary evil. The Founders were all traitors against their lawful king. As such, they were keenly aware of any government’s tendency to grow into tyranny.

No single election is sufficient to engineer fundamental transformation. Our system slows down change, ensuring that Americans will have several election cycles in which to reaffirm or abandon profound transformation.

These 18th-century Enlightenment ideals have brought us unprecedented creativity, social mobility and personal independence. They inspire people all over the world, and have spread freedom worldwide.

Nineteenth-century notions of socialism and communism, as well as 20th-century ideals of progressivism and “social justice,” are utterly incompatible with our founding principles.

They are materialistic, government-empowering ideologies that distrust free choice for common people.

Humanity is seen as a problem that needs to be managed by experts, for the good of all. Personal conscience is seen to be irrelevant, so long as the government ensures that all are fed, clothed and housed.

These “isms” are incompatible with American values. The Constitution would need to be scrapped in order for their vision of utopia to be born. This makes them “un-American.”

Ralph K. Ginorio

Limington

To change D.C. dynamic, elect Dill to U.S. Senate

I am supporting Cynthia Dill for U.S. Senate because she is an intelligent, strong, progressive voice. Nothing wishy-washy here. Dill knows who she is and has very clear positions on the issues.

In my view, it is her great strength that in voting for her you know exactly who you are voting for. She will caucus with Democrats and has proven she works well with others toward common purposes for the common good.

She is not pretending to be anyone other than who she is. She is articulate and has an excellent record. Importantly, she believes in government, unlike the current administration in Augusta and the U.S. House Republicans. She will make an excellent senator.

Everyone knows we need to change the dynamic in Washington. Dill will be that change.

She wants to educate our children, protect our seniors, reward our veterans and keep people healthy and safe. She knows corporations are not people. Dill has stood up for and will continue to stand up for ordinary people and speak loudly for economic justice.

Not since George Mitchell have we had a Democratic senator in Washington fighting for the middle class and taking a stand for good people struggling to find and keep jobs, put food on their table and protect their families.

Maine needs a senator who knows how to fight for the good people of Maine, not one to side with the extremist and obstructionist policies of the Republican Party.

Sharon Mitchell

Cape Elizabeth

Tea party out for itself, not for positive change

I have been wondering, what is the tea party for? It is perfectly clear what it is against: No. 1: taxes; No. 2: taxes; and No. 3: taxes.

I tried to think of something it could take credit for accomplishing that would improve the lives of the people. Is there a bill or a change in how things are done in Washington that it can take credit for? Has it tried to improve the economy, the infrastructure, the environment, education?

There has been a mountain of negative statements and criticism of the president and all Democrats, but nothing positive.

As far as I can see, the tea party is only for itself.

Nancy Willard

Woodstock