Jurich: Growing a community … and carrotsWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Warmer days are becoming a reality once again, as we gratefully feel the sun and watch the tulips and miniature daffodils bloom. I have been thinking about an early June day last year when a light rain, almost a mist, fell through the perfectly warm air as the evening set in. I was in bare feet, as I often am in the garden, feeling the moist soil against my pores. We had just returned to Toledo after a trip to Europe, and were now visiting our garden plot in the Old West End.
Jen was already in the garden when we arrived, digging away with a smile on her face. She too was elated by the mystical mist on that summer evening. Together we walked through the garden and worked our hands into the earth. This experience reconnected us in a very physical and spiritual way with our neighborhood, neighbors and home.
The gardening season is again upon us, when we place seeds into the ground with care and hopeful intentions. Working in the community garden is a source of growth and inspiration. So many positive interactions and benefits result! People continuously pass on the sidewalk and street where we can exchange greetings, share jokes or brief stories, meet new people and establish a visible sense of caring for the neighborhood. These exchanges and relationships are the foundation of a safe and solid community.
Inside the community garden, one can benefit from physical labor, interaction with and learning from Mother Nature, feeling the sun on your skin and the satisfaction of nourishing a seed to fruit. Between the fruit trees, blackberry bushes and rows of plots, more relationships develop as you garden side by side, even if few words are spoken as you mindfully tend your plot. Gardening generates inspiration through labor and a sense of well-being that is better felt than described.
Those I share the plot with and I are by no means expert gardeners. With minimal seasons under our thumbs, we are going in with some research and some experience, but mostly with enthusiasm, excitement and curiosity.
In our first week gardening, we have planted two varieties of kale, spinach, rainbow chard and two varieties of beans in our experimental horizontal and vertical combination pallet garden. Next to that plot, we have planted white onions, garlic, radishes, turnips and potentially our favorite (with the most seeds planted), the cosmic purple carrots.
At home, we have started a variety of lettuce greens, arugula, tomatoes and other vegetables and herbs indoors, which will eventually transfer to our community garden and backyard.
It seems as though gardening has become a popular hobby, what some would call a trend. It is no coincidence that in an age of television and computer screens, Iphones and Facebook, people are turning to the garden. We are (knowingly or not) yearning to become more human and less robotic, and that is an important move.
We are naturally drawn to connect with what is real and thriving, to develop relationships in the real world and witness mystery, growth and life. We are enlivened and strengthened by feeling the rain and sun on our skin and roots, dirt and earthworms in our hands. Each time I garden, I am connecting with our place, a literal grounding of our sense of home and community, beyond a city that we call Toledo.
Email Stacy Jurich at email@example.com.