By Karole Lee Johnson
The unknown consequences of this past garden-building season
As we transition from the building season for Seeds of Grace, into the maintenance and harvest phase for the 7 gardens we currently support locally, we feel triumphant as a community of volunteers, partners, sponsors, hosts and distributers. The bulk of the work seems to be done…. And yet – it isn’t.
You see, as an organization, we are learning that forethought and planning is better, leaving us looking to 2016 – AND beyond! But this really starts with us looking back… looking for the areas that our community has benefitted from the gardens… Benefits that we neither forsaw or planned for.
This basic “hindsight is 20/20” perspective is so valuable in determining where we go from here – which isn’t terribly different from where we PLANNED to go, but it is different – in a very good way!
So here are 5 ways that we can see where gardens will benefit the community:
- We learned that when we put gardens in our parks, in very visible, high traffic areas, people ask questions – they see that the garden is a focal point of the neighborhood and that people naturally gravitate to the area of growth. Our neighbors want to connect and they want to feel needed by their neighbors. Gardens are inviting – as curious lap-walkers pass by and see the wondrous growth of the fruits and vegetables.
- We learned that these Parks Gardens offer a place for people to come together as a family with other families – maybe it’s painting tires, or rocks – maybe it’s just digging in the dirt. Whatever the activity, there is room for everyone, every age.
- We learned that when we build a garden at a school, the students of that school are absolutely invested in its success. They take it on with a vigor and excitement similar to getting a new toy!
- We learned that the staff of the school, whether involved in the actual planning or not buy into the idea of the garden as a classroom, regardless of any “extra work” there may be.
- AND we learned that the “extra work” that was perceived before the garden was more than just a plan, is negligible in the bigger scheme of things – the way it is instrumental in that creation of community, bringing people, families, children, students together in its calming way to feed God’s Sheep.
This could not be done without the gifts of so many! This is a triumph of each and every individual and organization that donated in any way! These benefits would not have been recognized without you!
Planning has commenced, taking into consideration each of these benefits. How to enhance and bring about more of this? There is much going on behind the scenes. We are getting ready for 2016 in a BIG way! If you would like to see a garden in your local park or school, please let us know! Contact us now to start building the process!