Awakening the community garden

The snow has melted and the earth is warming. On the first day of spring a group from the Northside Compost team came to help repair and build new compost bins at the Story Garden on 35th and Humboldt. It was the first real sign that spring and summer are coming.

Spending time with gardeners is incredibly life affirming. There is a peacefulness to their approach in life. A long term commitment to struggles and problems. A hopefulness that meets injustice. It’s almost grown inside them. It has to be — to have the kind of resolve and patience it takes in the months of prep and attention to watch even just one tomato plant grow. It’s as if all the pretense is stripped away and all you are left with are the core values of life. That’s what brings expert gardeners and beginners together, the heart of the matter.

Northside gardeners are even more exhilarating to be with as they are such a diverse group of folks. From culture, to history, to knowledge of plants and all the benefits they bring. With the African, Mexican, Hmong, Somali, European and Asian folks coming together, they bring such vast knowledge and makes Northside gardens vibrant with life and unity.

Getting involved in community gardens has become critical to me as I navigate the busyness and complicated nature of life. It requires that I refocus, refrain, revitalize and repurpose myself. I learn to trust the rhythm of the earth. I have opportunity to meet my neighbors and expand my knowledge by what they can teach me, and offer my wisdom in return. Community gardening reminds me that while there are many aspects of our life that are different, neighbors can find a common ground to reach out to one another. To nourish our bodies and families together. And from the ground up, find hope together.

If you are looking to get involved in a community garden, check out these few resources on Facebook and someone can direct you to a garden advocate near you: Nomi Roots, Project Sweetie Pie and The Story Garden. And also check out your neighborhood organization on pages 8 and 9 to see what they are doing in our community gardens.