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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

There's No Competition on the Giving Side of Life

The Garden's Bounty
Many people may have a mis-perception about the Sharing Gardens and how they work. As it says in our Overview, "All materials and labor are donated. The food we grow is shared amongst those who have contributed in some way as well as others who are in need in our community. All surplus is donated to our local food-bank and other charities. No one is ever charged money for the food that is grown." Even though it clearly says that the food we grow "is shared amongst those who have contributed in some way," we realized in this conversation with our neighbors,  that many local people, who are not particularly suffering financially have held back on participating, or feeling OK about receiving harvest from the garden because of their perception that the primary purpose of the Gardens is to feed "those in need."

First of all, while our guiding purpose is to feed "those in need", in the last two seasons we grew 3,500 and 4,500 pounds of food (those figures included both the volunteers and the surplus donated to the Food Bank, the Senior Lunch Program and others.) One of our greatest challenges has been, as the Food Bank was closing up each week, was to find people to take home all the fresh produce that was still left over! Growing food in the style of sharing creates tremendous abundance and "rising waters lift all ships." Even if you or your family is not in dire financial circumstances, you are still welcome to participate in the growing of food and sharing in the bounty. There is plenty to go around!

Secondly, there are many less-material benefits to those who volunteer in the gardens that go beyond the amount of food you would be able to take home with you in harvest times. Getting your hands in the soil, moving your body as you prepare the ground, pulling weeds and harvesting--all contribute to your physical health and well-being. Sharing in conversation, meeting the other volunteers and making new connections is good for you emotionally. Learning how to grow your own food organically and having stimulating conversations about the current world-situation while pulling weeds or picking beans, is good for your mind. And stepping into active service; giving without a specific calculation of what you'll get in return is just plain good for the soul!

Conversation in the bean-patch.
It's not too late to be added to our email list to be informed of where and when we'll be in the gardens. Just email us at: shareinjoy@gmail.com and let us know you want to be added to the volunteer list.

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