A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Meet the Volunteers - A "Growing" Family

Cindy wrapping baling twine so we can use it for other purposes in the gardens
 Somewhere along towards the middle of the summer we began to see a new, smiling face in the gardens. Cindy first stopped by with her father-in-law, Bruce (who was already a regular volunteer) and immediately offered to help. We didn't see her again for a few weeks (due to recovering from surgery) but once she was feeling better she began coming just about every week. Cindy is someone who greets the world with open arms and approaches new opportunities with enthusiasm and curiosity. Though she came to us with very little previous gardening experience, she asked lots of questions and began putting into practice the simple methods we promote. As the tomatoes and tomatillos, onions, peppers and garlic began to ripen, Cindy decided to teach herself to do some water-bath canning. She made green and red salsas, tomato sauce and, using a juicer-canner, decanted home-style V-8 juice! Here are some pictures from her summer adventures, followed by a letter she wrote about her experiences in the garden.

Cindy, with a box of harvested onions for the Food Bank
Dear Llyn and Chris,
     I can’t begin to thank you for everything you have taught me about gardening. I don’t how I came so far in my life without ever growing my own food.  I have always grown a tomato plant or two, but never enough to actually plan meals around. I have learned to plant, fertilize, weed and harvest things I never even thought about growing.
     There’s more, you have shown me ways to plan ahead for my future meals. I now CAN and FREEZE these beautiful jewels. I will have good wholesome food throughout the winter!! I am so excited!!  I feel so happy to do this. I feel better about WHAT I am eating.
I recently watched a program on TV called Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Jamie came to America and singled out one county. His goal was to teach the children and adults how to eat healthy. He did this through the school lunch rooms and in some homes.  Jamie showed everyone how to cook healthy whole foods.  Americans were not happy about this, they didn’t want to change. After a few weeks some of the kids started losing weight. The adults began to enjoy the food and families started cooking together. What I am trying to get at is YOU BOTH are MY Jamie Oliver! 
     I will continue to eat and grow my own chemical and pesticide free food. I love it! I am looking forward to our next round in the garden. 

Very Thankfully Yours, Cindy Canter

PS I have already begun the spreading my knowledge, I am teaching my daughter, nieces and nephew how to make dinners from fresh veggies and they love playing in the kitchen with me. (Full Circle)
Thankfully Yours, Cindy
Here's a picture of Cindy's first canning adventure!
Cindy has an infectious enthusiasm and welcoming spirit. Below, are pictures of times she brought along family-members to share in the garden experience:

Justin and Stephanie, Cindy's step-son and his friend, harvesting basil.
Niece, Ryan and Cindy in the raspberry patch.
As we mentioned in the opening of this post, Bruce Hayler is Cindy's father-in-law. He and his wife, Liz, are new to Monroe but Bruce is no stranger to gardening. Bruce grew up on a farm in Iowa and he and Liz's former home in Eugene was lush with gardens - all grown organically. Though Bruce started his own garden at the edge of Monroe, he still comes almost weekly to help at the Sharing Gardens. Liz told us once that she learned early on, "never to schedule appointments for Bruce on Thursdays," because he didn't want to miss out on his time with us in the gardens. Here, in his own words, are what the Gardens mean to him:

I always look forward to and enjoy working with Llyn, Chris and the other volunteers in the Sharing Gardens. We are doing good, honest and healthy work producing much needed food. Food that is fresh and nutritious for people in need of it. Not only is food being grown, but a sense of community is being established. People are being shown how to recapture basic, down to earth skills that have been forgotten and lost. The present economy and the emphasis on going green make these skills more vital than ever.

It would be hard to find anyone with a better attitude and skill-set to make the
Sharing Gardens a success than Llyn and Chris. They always strive to give the volunteers and the recipients a healthy experience for both their bodies and minds.

Bruce Hayler – November 2010
Chris and Bruce sharing a moment in the gardens.

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