About 10 years ago, with my middle child swathed on my back, I planted vegetable seeds in the ground. I wanted to figure out how it worked. I wanted to teach my kids a way of eating separate from a grocery store purchase.
Each year since a new patch of grass has disappeared into the past and has become a new little urban garden somewhere in my yard. What was at first an experiment evolved to become a mission to learn to plant and raise foods that could feed my family. Now, looking back, it has produced something far beyond what I ever could have imagined…gardening has helped me to build my community. On all sides of me are people that in the everyday rush, we pass each on our way out the door, maybe a quick wave, and then we are off into the world, with no other exchange. Gardening created a moment to stop and talk about the plants growing, about the chickens clucking…what grew well, what didn’t, or maybe just chatting over a handful of delicious golden raspberries.
My story about gardening, then became a story about building relationships with the beautiful people that have lived around me over the years. Over time, we exchanged numbers and then when we needed something, we could skip a trip to the store and borrow, or ask for some helping hands. The idea about sustainability evolved to include intention, connection, and sharing within my community. All of a sudden, as a single mom, I had friendship and support through something so simple…healthy, delicious, homegrown food.
As we enter into these times where are children will be bogged with an ever growing population in the prisons, an education system fraught with correct or incorrect answers, a food system more toxic and disconnected from our local place than it has ever been, and a pharmaceutical industry that is largely unavailable to most and yet sometimes addicting us to medicines when we could cure our ailments with simple good food… I wonder how my story plays into a new path. A path where we teach our children how to build in every capacity, where we show them something so simple as providing for themselves by virtue of their connection to the land right in front them and the people right next to them. Kiddos that face a high statistic of seeing their lives through bars could instead walk where the bars fade into soil, where the drugs and the violence give way to community and friendship, where the facts become a cycle of understanding, and the medicine becomes a plant that nourishes.
My idea of the future holds something brilliant that is emerging among us. I dream that we grow and share food, that we find happiness in our yards and not in the stores or with guns, that we learn through a process and not just facts of right or wrong, that our medicine once again comes from Mother Earth, and that we live with each other and the earth with that good old heartfelt intention of love.