One of the projects that we are working on this summer is a Spirit of the Land garden. Located at the community gardens near the fire hall, we hope to use this space to grow food for both SoL class meals and to donate to the food bank.
We planted the garden about two weeks ago, with the lovely help of John and Treva, who were willing to gift us leftover seeds and lend us gardening tools for the summer. We planted a variety of things, including a pumpkin, zucchini, squash, beets, radishes, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, green onion, white onion, yellow beans, orca beans, kale, swiss chard, spinach and parsley.
Personally, I’ve never had a garden before- growing herbs in a pot is the greenest my thumb has been. But growing up, I remember visiting my grandma who had a quarter-acre plot, spending her mornings (and sometimes evenings too) out in garden, tending to her flowers and vegetables, sprinkling carefully saved eggshells and weeding out the dandelions. Every time we would visit, there would be fresh strawberries for breakfast and an assortment of veggies for dinner, as well as homemade raspberry ice cream. My grandma always found a sense of peace in her garden, using the time to reflect on her day, recall pleasant memories and feel connected to the ecosystem around her.
I never really understood the appeal of a garden- why toil in the dirt when you can drive to the supermarket
and pull a box from a freezer that magically becomes dinner? Over time, however, I began to appreciate all that gardens can give us. More than just sustenance, gardens create a space of quiet, a time away from technology and the busyness of life, allowing us to simply be, in the moment. Gardens allow us to get our hands dirty, both literally and figuratively. By working in gardens, we can intimately understand how our food comes to be on our plate, and the holistic relationship that exists between all living things to get it there. Gardens can also be a place of activism and justice. By growing a garden, no matter the size, you are moving away from the industrial paradigm that demands scarcity and separates us from our food. Gardens grow food, but they also grow connections- relationships blossom in a garden, where people of all walks of life can come together under one common need- sustenance. Gardens do all this and more, and I can’t wait to see what we can grow this summer.