Life In The Garden – Everything Works Together


In my last post, I mentioned my focus for the new year is food sustainability; the concept of gradual steps toward less dependence on outside food sources and more effort on homegrown, locally produced food. My interpretation of “eating clean” not only involves the actual food, but the food source as well.

The wife of a childhood friend of mine, Juanita, manages a local community farm where a small number of members pay a nominal fee to volunteer at a community garden. The garden was originally started by the wife of the preacher at the adjacent church, who owns the plot of land which is now the garden. Juanita took over its management about 2 years ago with the idea of involving the community and promoting food sustainability by growing organic produce.



In its short journey, which Juanita describes as “so much more than growing food”, the garden now provides organic vegetables, herbs, and fruit at least once a week to its members and the goal is to grow enough to donate to local food banks. The concept of permaculture as a closed loop system means that everything is used right from the land. Local horse manure and wood chippings are composted, along with weeds and dead leaves to create natural fertilizer. Rocks and pieces of cement slab will be used to line pathways. Juanita uses companion gardening to pair different plants which grow well together, but which also avoid attracting unwanted pests. Plants also serve dual purposes in the garden; providing much needed nitrogen for the soil, for example, or acting as shade for other plants.

Members volunteer their time to help in the garden and because the focus here is on community, there are no plots. I met another member named Dan who has singlehandedly dug almost all the grass out of the garden. Like any group working toward a common goal, members lend their own natural talents, regardless of their gardening experience. Dan’s talent is digging up grass and fixing things. He hopes to eventually build a shed on the property big enough to house all the tools and gardening supplies. Being almost completely deaf, Dan has a keen sense of nature and connections and tells the story of how certain insects naturally deter pests who threaten the garden’s plants. He says “everything here is interconnected and works together.” I think that’s true for a lot of things in life; if we let it.

Resources: Community Farm






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Categories: Meals


Diligent seeker of health and nutrition, Paleo follower, and creative culinary practicer...


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