Aug. 17, 2012: Finding a community in the Community Garden, by Holly Brown

August 17, 2012 by

It didn’t take us long to decide that we wanted to be a part of the Concordia Community Garden of Hope when it opened three years ago. Gardening had always been something we wanted to do, but with limited yard space and two dogs it just wasn’t feasible. So, thankfully the Sisters of St. Joseph remedied our problem by opening the garden on a corner of their property and we are so glad they did!

Being a part of the Community Garden has been a wonderful experience for our whole family.

My dad was a gardener and had a large vegetable garden every summer. While I never really got in on the planting of the produce, my siblings and I always got the job of watering and harvesting the vegetables. Now I know we got the better end of the deal — harvesting is much more rewarding than planting!

But we marvel at how quickly the process happens.

Our children, age 4 and 8, were especially excited when we would plant seemingly insignificant seeds and after a few weeks of watering what seemed to be just dirt, real live vegetables were sprouting up everywhere — and we did it ourselves! They were so proud and really took ownership of our family garden.

It’s great to teach them about where food comes from and the processes it goes through to get to our table for supper. They are learning the value of hard work, dedication, commitment and follow-through, among many other things. And they get really excited when it rains and will shout out, “Thank you, God, for watering our garden!”

We also really enjoy the camaraderie of the Community Gardeners. Since this is our first foray into gardening, we often ask other gardeners for their best tips, tricks and practices for everything from mulching techniques and planting methods to harvesting times and (of course) combating those darn squash bugs!

But oftentimes, our conversations aren’t about gardening. We talk about the kids and grandkids, recent vacations, the weather or what’s going on around town. We are creating friendships that might not have ever happened without our common interest in gardening.

Finally, the Community Garden has allowed us to share the fruits of our labor with others — and that may be the best gift the garden has given us.

It’s a great feeling to share with our family, friends and neighbors.

God blesses us with an abundance to share of not only fresh and natural produce, but with much love and kindness to spread around as well. Many gardeners donate their extra produce to the local food bank, which means a special treat for the recipients.

We will never know how many lives are touched by those kind deeds. But we do know that random acts of kindness, and even deliberate kindness, can be contagious.

My grandma always told me to “kill people with kindness” — especially people you don’t care for — because eventually your kindness will rub off on them.

In the Community Garden that means lending a helping hand when needed, offering tips and tricks and listening attentively when someone offers theirs, and just passing on a warm smile. It’s amazing what can grow along with the vegetables!

 

— Holly Brown lives in Concordia with her husband Kevin and their children Jaci and Drew. She works in the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

 

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