The other day, my kids had made a mess of legos on their bedroom floor just before bedtime. Instead of scolding them, I took a moment and saw the wonderland they had created. That made a light-bulb go off above my head: childhood is full of inspiration. You never know what experiences you provide a child will blossom later in life.
When I found this photograph of myself eating a strawberry in my Grandma’s garden, I smiled. She always had a garden, whether with raised beds in the city or on a few acres in the country during her retirement. Those first memories of fresh strawberries and Lemon Balm are still with me, and inspire me to garden myself.
I wish she could see me today, and come wander our community garden where I am trying to grow some of my own vegetables and give my own kids the experience of watching nature bloom. Or that my photography is inspired by nature: capturing people in their natural beauty. She really was my second photography fan, and I always think of her when I smell Lemon Balm!
So, remember that even just providing experiences for children can inspire you or them days and years down the road!
I have fond memories of wandering between my Grandma’s raised garden beds in the back of her city home. The smell of sun ripened strawberries and Lemon Mint mingle in those memories. She even used raised planter beds after she moved onto a larger city lot where she and my Grandpa also raised dozen of chicken and two pigs. They retired to a small rural town in Oregon, and their “hobby farming” blossomed to include more animals and a garden yielding more vegetables and fruit than they could eat.
About two years ago, I was missing my Grandma who had passed away, and coincidentally embracing the ideals of eating locally. But, we didn’t have room to garden aside from a planter with strawberries, and some pots for herbs. I was daunted by the waiting list for our city P-Patches (a program in Seattle where you can garden in designated Parks land). So, I asked my good friend, Google.com and found this locally produced site: Urbangardenshare.org– it was just beginning and included only two sites in my neighborhood. Neither one was suitable for me to bring my two kids under 3 years old.
So, I called my mom and told her how I found this new site, but there wasn’t the right fit for us on there yet. She in turn introduced me to her High School friend, JoAnne. She just so happened to live in my neighborhood and have a Mom who was willing to share her garden, Mrs. B. She is a sweet lady who is kinda like my Grandma in her knowledge and passion for gardening. We enjoy the fruits of her years of labor through the bounty of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, Peaches, Apples, Pears, Plums, Garlic, Broccoli, Collards and Raspberries. And in turn, we try to help keep up with weeds and tend our own part of the garden.
We’re getting a late start this year, but are excited to continue our “Adopt-A-Gardening” as I am going to call it. It is a mutually beneficial way to garden in the city. If you’re like me, and want to garden but don’t have the space, take a look around your neighborhood. Are there any elderly folks who can’t keep up with their garden? Or a neighbor with a yard just waiting to be used? Taking a good look online, I’ve found some other useful resources that might help.
Here are some handy links:
Urban Garden Share: started in Seattle, the site now a few cities in California, Kentucky, Idaho and Georgia.
Gleanit: A Seattle organization also known as The Community Harvest of SW Seattle, they coordinate ways to share excess harvest or neglected fruit trees to food banks. The also provide classes and opportunities to volunteer.
Garden Share: resources for gleaning or sharing your harvest in and around New York.
Do you have a similar program in your city? If so, please share the info!