Sunday, April 17, 2011

Growing Communities

I have the honor of managing a community garden at an apartment complex this season. It amazes me how desperately people want to grow their own food. There was so much competition for garden spaces that the area of the gardens had to double this year.

Each family that has a plot has 100 sq ft. That it! I am so blessed for what I have and I resolve not to take it for granted. So many times when it is too hot (or too cold) I grumble and grump about how much I have to weed or water or...whatever.  This experience is really going to help me grow personally.

I like that.

Today it was nice enough that we were able to divide the new fields into individual plots. It was hard work. The ground in one of the areas was still rather wet, so making the paths was difficult. I got my boot stuck and everyone watched me fall on my butt in the mud! A few people were concerned, but when I started laughing everyone joined in.

Overall it was a great time. This community is very diverse, so there were some language barriers that needed to be overcome. There were also some cultural issues too. Some of the older gentlemen didn't care too much for a young woman telling them what they needed to be doing. I respectfully stood my ground (when I wasn't falling on my butt) and everything worked out well.

I had been very worried about this job because I have no experience with managing allotments. I knew this morning that I would mess up paperwork or make people angry for not putting them in this plot versus that. It wasn't like that at all. I can't wait to really get to know everyone and watch the relationships grow along with the food. I love that community gardens are about more than just growing food.

Tomorrow I have to pick up some plants from a friend to bring to the church garden. The city wants to hold a press conference there to award a grant. This is the same grant we received last year. I have a lot of work to do there before that happens. I want them to see how hard the community has worked and encourage them to continue to empower urban gardeners.

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