The Dirt Doctors

Building Connections: How Neighbors Foster a Sense of Community

People are becoming interested in seeking a home rather than an attractive building or a nice house. There is a lot to be said for a nice house, but a good life is more about the people you live around, as well as the people you live with.

Apartment or suburban living has been touted as a way to be independent and revel in the freedom to live life as you please. However, many people find this unfulfilling. Your desire to live alone is fine for a while, but it gets lonely, too. People seek connections, but some realize that their neighborhood isn’t really designed to encourage interaction.

This desire for connections has been emphasized to such an extent that housing developers are starting to take notice of it. The Village at Manor Lakes is one such development that is people-oriented. The developers know that people value a sense of community and that living in a suburb isn’t just about having a house and a yard. This move towards focusing on creating spaces where people can build relationships at their doorsteps is a lauded concept.

The past year showed that everyone is connected. Thus, it is important to nurture these connections and seek ways to develop them so that we can address issues or even celebrate wins together as a community. You can’t find a safer place to raise children than a neighborhood that feels the same love and concern for them as a relative feels.

Sometimes, you have to be proactive about what you want. You can be the guiding force behind developing community spirit in the new neighborhood you move into and nurture those connections you desire. Talk with a few like-minded individuals and try out a few different ways to make your neighbors interested in being one community.

Backyard Gatherings

Your community can start small by having a backyard gathering at a different person’s house every month. Invite everyone and make it a potluck gathering so that everyone brings something. This will give people plenty to talk about as they can sample dishes, ask about recipes, share cooking tips, etc.

This is a low-key way for your neighbors to interact and get to know each other. You can even host a children’s party if your community efforts are about creating a safer environment for kids within your neighborhood. Ice cream parties and game events are a great way to encourage children to participate. While they are playing and enjoying the ice cream, their parents can relax together in the shade, chat, and become more familiar with each other.

Share Your Garden Vegetables

Turn a part of your garden into a vegetable patch and start growing vegetables. Potatoes, lettuce, and carrots are quite easy to grow with little effort. Your garden can also yield enough crops that you can share in small baskets with your neighbors. This will be the first step toward planting the idea of a community garden in their minds.

Invite people to dig up a few carrots for themselves so that they can enjoy being in a garden and enjoying the sunshine. Children are also more likely to eat vegetables they have grown or dug up by themselves, so you will notice that parents quickly become receptive to the idea of growing vegetables.

Offer Help

Make an effort to offer help to your neighbors who are doing activities or chores. If a neighbor is mowing the lawn, offer them a cold bottle of beer. Offer to take over while they get some rest and enjoy the cold brew.

Moreover, help any ladies who know you by sight with their groceries or heavy packages. Offer to babysit their kids for a few hours. Your children will enjoy having more playmates, and you can reap the benefits of keeping the kids entertained when the neighbors offer to babysit them.

In addition, you can volunteer for elderly neighbors by cleaning their gutters, helping them with their gardening, or driving them to the store for groceries. Seeing you take the time to help others will foster a feeling of connection in other people, too. Over time, the sense of community will spread, and you will notice that more people offer help to their neighbors.


Consider establishing a farmers’ market in your town. This will take a bit more time, and you will need to work with the town council to get permits and convince local stores to participate. Do your best to convince local store owners and creatives that this is a great way to encourage neighbors to buy locally produced goods.  A local coffee shop can get a few new customers and sell quite well at the farmers’ market, but there is no reason that the local bookstore cannot do well. Artists can showcase their work; hairdressers can offer quick cuts and trims and demonstrate how to apply hair products. The farmers’ market will become a place that feels like a community center.

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