Gardening gifts us with so much more than food. High visibility gardens, like a street garden, deliver these gifts like no other. It changes a person; it connects you to your neighborhood and brings a type of people into your life. You will quickly know all the gardeners in the neighborhood. You attract people who are more active, more health conscious, food conscious, creative, family oriented and community-oriented people. I know because it happened to me.
Now let’s talk about Enid. Of all the families in Hamblen County to be stuck with no choice but to put a garden right up on the street … this is one of the best we could possibly find. We haven’t discussed it, I don’t know if this is something they would verbalize as an intentional way of living life as I relate to it, but these are community-oriented people. They actively practice being a part of their community. They understand and practice getting the most out of a program like ours by putting themselves right in the middle. They relate to the program as a family unit and have also become an integral part of our volunteer core. To be a part of and get the most out of an experience… they set a great example. I’ve witnessed this same attitude and action in other areas of their life as well: church, homeschool network, autism support network and neighborhood at large. It’s why I think it’s no accident that this family was destined to be ‘frontyardeners,’ to borrow a phrase. They will use it to it’s maximum potential to deliver healthy food and so much more.
My theory is that a street gardener can’t help but become a sort of community builder and ‘knowledge keeper.” You end up creating opportunities to mentor those who want what you have. You find yourself attracting the people who are out doing things. Your sense of relevance changes when surrounded by relevant people. Plus, you get tomatoes to feed your body as well as spirit. It’s a good deal.
This garden space had struggled for some time before joining the program. Pictures above are from this past week and pictures below are from past attempts. You can tell they were having fun but were troubled with problems and harvests were small. We’re thrilled Enid and her extended crew are building momentum and seeing the results they’ve longed for! Persistence, a focus on soil health, skill building such as good planning, proper thinning and pruning as well as mulching… that’s what we’re seeing now. They are proud and we are too! This family’s journey will be used as education & motivation for many years and families to come.