Monday, June 3, 2013

We Can Grow!

Just a few weeks back, the back corner of our yard was a mess. Stacked high with wood and debris, volunteer trees several inches thick growing, generally inaccessible. We finally decided to do something about it, though I forgot to take a picture of the "before." This gives some idea, if you multiply it literally by 10 and throw in a lot of trash:

So, late one night I am messing around on the internet, and I see a FB ad for a new-ish organization called We Can Grow. I had already written off the idea of starting a garden this year — so much work, so time-consuming, so much added stress. But at the same time, Beatrix has been a lot more interested in gardening, and the information on We Can Grow was so interesting...I bit the bullet and applied for a scholarship.

The idea behind the organization is to provide a full (urban-style) farm-to-table experience. Mike, the founder, had a 2,600 square foot garden last year, planted with the express purpose of providing food to his neighborhood. To some extent, it worked — he gave away food and created a stronger community. he gave zucchini to the little old lady down the street, who baked zucchini bread for everyone. He helped till other gardens. People started talking to each other. But lots of people didn't take him up on his offer, and when he asked why, it was reasons like "I don't know how to cook that" and "It's easier to just get Happy meals for my kids." He realized change went a lot deeper.

So I got accepted for a scholarship, but I had to give back. I had to attend 10 hours (4 nights, once a week) of classes about planning a garden, cooking healthy and easy meals, preserving food, and gardens and community. ten hours is a lot of time, and I wasn't so sure it would be worth it. But I learned some interesting new things, and the people in the class were great and varied and interesting, and I discovered I was already building community.

We Can Grow is a new organization, 501c3 status pending. Right now, it gets all its funds from selling the garden beds (and at a pretty low cost), which subsidizes the scholarships and related expenses. They do get donations of time and seedlings, worth their weight in gold.

Our garden arrived on Saturday. It's beautiful — full of rich soil, with a water reservoir — sturdy and strong and attractive. I'm excited to see everything growing in it. Hey, if nothing else, it got us to clean that corner out!

1 comment:

Randy Murray said...

That's terrific. I think that the training and classes are essential. You should have some terrific food coming out of that dirt box.

I grew up on a farm and gardening was a natural extension of that. Our garden was a half acre and the strawberry patch wasn't included! It was the decades, centuries, really, of experience from the women of the family that made it work. They knew how to grow, pick, prepare, and preserve. I retain some of that knowledge and we still keep a small garden at my Mother's house, near by.

Good luck on your journey!