This post is meant to share with you a bit of the philosophy behind the Sharing Gardens.
Many times, when people visit the SG for the first time they notice a pleasant feeling on the land and they comment on it. They ask, "What makes this place different?" or, "How does this garden work?". We believe that they are feeling the effects of our gardens being non-commercial in nature. All help is voluntary, there are no membership fees, we never sell the food that we grow and we have made it a priority to provide food and habitat for wild animals to be at home in the gardens as well.
It's not a perfect system. Sometimes we have felt taken advantage of and have had to create healthy boundaries towards those who take more than their share -- like putting up a fence to keep the deer out, or signs at the food pantry guiding people to take smaller amounts of the produce in short supply. On occasion we've even asked certain people to stop volunteering at the gardens when we felt that their attitudes were not in alignment with the values of the project (though in truth, there have only been a few).
|Some 'people' are not very good at sharing. Deer are voracious eaters and it's difficult to convince them to leave behind plants for others to enjoy. We've heard of people who have established a truce with deer through communicating with them in their hearts and minds but we haven't refined the skill well enough yet to take down our deer-fences.|
But overall, people haven't abused the project's generosity. We find that people are instinctively drawn to the Gardens because it is a sanctuary apart from any kind of commercial transactions.
It is a relief to let go of accounting
for ones giving and receiving and to step into "nature's economy"
; a miraculous web of interconnected relationships that, if honored and respected create sufficiency for all.
The project still isn't self-perpetuating in terms of the cash-outlays we must make to pay for things like gas, electric and phone bills and other materials we must purchase new. But overall, we see a growing trend of support
coming from the small town of Monroe where we live; in our relationships with people and institutions in the surrounding areas
, and others in the broader community we touch through this blog
. We are grateful
for this growing web of community-connections and remain curious
to see how this experiment in 'full-circle' generosity will continue to be supported.
The SG's are meant to demonstrate what can happen if we gradually begin
to expand our definition of "family" to include people who we share
common values with; the natural world that supports us in its web, and
through our donations to local food-charities, to stretch ourselves also
to care for those in our immediate environment who are struggling just
to get by
. Most people take care of their families without charging
money, or keeping track of how much they are owed (can you imagine if
your parents had kept a running tab of all the time and money they spent
in raising you and presented you with a bill once you left home)? They
gave to you out of a natural spirit of generosity and wanting you to
thrive. You are an extension of the Life they were freely given. We
believe it is with this same spirit that the gardens continue to thrive
her Mom and her baby Caleb - How would our world be different if we
cared for each other, and the environment as an extension of our family.|
By continuously 'giving without thought of
we have been delighted and amazed at the many miracles of
generosity that have blessed us, and the project. (HERE
is a brief history of our lives since we began the project illustrating this path we have chosen.) (
Here is a link to a post chronicling the long stream of generosity that has blessed us since the gardens began in 2009: - It Takes a Village
If you've ever wondered what it is that inspires us to keep going, it is
the generosity of others -- not necessarily just towards us either.
When we read stories on the web, we are always filtering for examples of
others who are living examples of 'nature's economy'. We love what
is doing with Service Space and Pay-it Forward Restaurants
, and Peter Owen Jones
through his experiments in living without money, and boldly stepping into the 'Age of the Environment'
. Here are links to some of their presentations: Peter Owen Jones - What Future?
Nipon Mehta - Designing for Generosity
And, as a wise man once said:
This is so beautifully written! I appreciate the sentiment expressed here. I haven't been able to visit the garden for many years, but love hearing how things are going.ReplyDelete
Hi Diane, thanks for the comment on our site so everyone can enjoy it. We hope, during the garden's quiet season to write more of these philosophy - types of posts. Be well, Llyn and ChrisDelete