By Jane Macdonald, Director of Community Health
The inspiration for a community garden can come from so many places. Community gardens can be a great solution for transforming spaces or vacant lots into something much more appealing and productive. They often become a teaching tool for those who want to be more knowledgeable about growing organic foods and eating from the garden. They offer a comforting environment where you can find soothing calm. And, of course, gardens offer a beautiful illustration of community service and compassion along with their bounty.
The Loaves & Fishes Community Garden was inspired by a little bit of all of the above. Located in an unlikely place – the site of a once-thriving restaurant – volunteers across our community will work together this growing season to bring fresh organic produce to families with limited opportunity to purchase those foods on their own. Thanks to the contributions of many individuals over the first two years, our lot is very welcoming.
This year, Loaves & Fishes clients have been offered a community garden bed of their own to plant, maintain and harvest. Deana, one of our clients, is looking forward to adopting one of the garden beds. When I asked her why she was drawn to gardening, she told me about growing up in Puerto Rico, where her grandfather grew fruit trees and worked in farming communities. Gardening is difficult for someone living in a small apartment with a limited income. Deana’s goal is to adopt a healthy mindset, and the community garden provides a perfect opportunity to help her achieve this. She is eager to expand her own healthy eating efforts and share with friends and family the importance of eating nutritious foods.
Community gardening can be a game-changer. I hope you will be inspired, too.