In which I believe that gardening can save the world

…and I finally decide to act on it.

Several months ago, I met with the neighborhood coordinator of Agape Community Center – a non profit that operates out of a nearby neighborhood but also provides services to our area. They run a community garden not too far from the organization, about a half mile from our little house. Currently, it’s managed by a volunteer who is going to be moving out of the area and was looking to pass to torch along, so to speak.

I initially thought of it as too much of a time commitment – after all, I am growing on more space than I’ve ever worked before, I do have a full-time job, and I would like to be able to take a few short vacations throughout the summer. I also have my hesitations about my know-how. Yes, I’ve played in the dirt all my life and I have lots of knowledge and research under my belt. But did I really have enough practical experience to offer? I wasn’t sure.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from the neighborhood coordinator again, mentioning that they were still looking for someone to help manage the community garden. There was another resident who was interested, so it would technically be “co-managing”. Again, I sort of brushed it off. I mentioned it to Boo and he gently asked why I was holding back on this – after all, I think that community gardening can make a huge impact on a neighborhood in so many ways. He even offered to lend his manly muscles as time permits!

I gave myself a week to think through the idea, and eventually I realized that I would be CRAZY to not take this opportunity. I’ve done community gardening before, in Riverwest, and couldn’t say enough about how wonderful it was. This is one of my dreams jobs – even if it’s just a volunteer position. It’s a merging of so many of my passions – healthy food, gardening, empowering communities towards sustainability, building good relationships, eliminating the disconnect between goods we consume and where those goods come from…

In essence, I kind of think that gardening can save the world.

So, I said yes 🙂

This past Saturday, I met with the previous coordinator soon, as well as the other resident who will be managing. The time commitment required for co-managing the garden is perfect for me – a total of one to two hours per week. At the very least, the position is completely doable. I have a billion fun ideas that may or may not happen as well! Compost bins, a rainwater system, kid-themed garden beds, a communication board…but, if all I end up having time for is meeting other gardeners, picking up trash, and putting together a watering schedule, I’m content :). I’ll also be attending a workshop on community garden management this weekend.

I meant to spend some time at the garden on Sunday but somehow in my busyness I completely forgot! Maybe I can stop by for a little while on Thursday or Friday.

Another positive thing is that, in doing more research and coming up with creative solutions to problems in the community garden, I’ll have more ideas to apply to my own backyard!

I’m nervous – with any volunteer position, there is the possibility that I could burn myself out. But I’m choosing to trust that God will give me the wisdom I need to manage my time well, to know my limits and to be able to give freely out of my abundance.

Here’s to a new adventure!

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