This article was written by Danielle Tietjen
Community gardens give life to their neighborhoods for roughly five to six months each year when the weather is warm. However, residents in Folwell found a way to care for the vulnerable critters in the community through the cold season, while also providing a little bit of hope to the community at the same time.
In December, neighbors came out to the Story Garden at 35th and Humboldt to decorate an Edible Winter Tree. They came and hung popcorn and cranberries by the string. Elders and youth worked side by side to decorate bread in the shapes of ornaments. The dried out bread was painted with Peanut Butter and then dipped in bird seeds as if they were sprinkles, then hung on the tree with care. Neighbors baked cookies and brought hot chocolate. Dual fires were built to keep everyone warm for hours on what turned out to be a pretty chilly day. Music and laughter filled the air, while stories were shared over roasting marshmallows.
The Story Garden has become a fixture for bringing community members together over the last five years. Decorating the Edible Winter Tree is no different. The charm of this gathering is rooted in connection. After the weather has turned cold and most of us desire to stay inside, this event draws us all back out to be together and enjoy the warmth of community. When the ground is frozen and nothing is growing, we bring food to the tree to continue to care and provide for the animals. As darkness takes over more hours than daylight, twinkle lights are placed on the tree to remind us that no matter how dark things become, there is always a light shining somewhere for you.
The Edible Winter tree is about providing connection and hope for those who feel isolated and down. It is a symbol that not all is lost. That even against the harsh reality of a dark and cold winter, we can always find hope in each other.
To learn more about the Story Garden or help run events and volunteer, contact the Story Garden steward Dani at email@example.com.