Howdy Folks - Well the 2022 garden season has finally come to an end. Actually, it never really ends but the autumn clean-up, seed-saving, food preservation and the harvesting of all the compost we've generated in our greenhouse paths are done.This post has some reflections on the 2022 season as well as a look forward into how things are changing at the Sharing Gardens.
|Our house, workshop, Oz-greenhouse and garden shed - 2022.|
Though we took a year off from weighing our donations, we estimate that the SBFP still received at least 500 pounds of produce. We also donated almost a thousand pounds of produce to Stone Soup Kitchen who prepares hundreds of meals/week to share free-of-charge to people in need. Though it was sometimes a challenge to find a way to deliver our donations (a half-hour from the Gardens) we always felt good about our contributions, knowing our produce was being made into delicious meals. (See: Generosity of the Stone Soup Kitchen) But honestly, there were times at the peak of summer harvests that even the Stone Soup folks were overwhelmed with donations!When we began the Sharing Gardens in 2009 we had one main purpose: Our mission was to encourage mutual generosity by growing food as a community (no separate plots) and sharing the harvest with those who had contributed in some way while having enough surplus to donate to local food charities. At that time the main fresh fruits and vegetables most Food Pantries received were the cast-offs that groceries couldn't sell. There were hardly any gardeners growing extra veggies to share, or they didn't know where to bring their surplus. This has changed dramatically in the 14 years since we started.
|Chris and Llyn: Sharing Gardens founders at original site - 2009|
|Llyn with first donation: July 8, 2009 |
We are very happy to see that times have changed and fresh food, much of which has been grown organically, is available now to food-charity recipients. On the other hand, it has caused us to ask ourselves, "Have we fulfilled the mission we set out for ourselves," and if so, "what is our role now"?
How we grow...Veganic Community-based gardening: includes info on our successful leaf and lawn-clipping drop off site. (Cindy, rt. spreading donated leaves around the artichoke plants.)
Free woodchips for our town! - a new development this year that provides a mutual benefit to our neighbors as well as the tree trimming companies that use our site.
Moving forward, the gardens are still going strong. We'll continue to grow all the usual favorites (tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets etc) to share with our share-givers to keep them fed and healthy, and there will still always be some surplus of these annual veggies and fruits to pass along to charities.
In addition though, we're shifting some of the emphasis of garden-plantings more towards winter-storage foods. Here's a post about these shifts:
"Squashes and grains and beans, oh my!" - a shifting focus on what foods we grow... (Jenny, rt. harvesting sorghum).
The next few months we'll focus on pruning our orchards, weeding and mulching perennial beds and continuing to prep the raised beds in our greenhouses in anticipation of planting the early spring crops.
We also have some other ideas of how the Sharing Gardens may expand into a more comprehensive, "full circle" project in the months and years ahead. With environmental and economic issues so pressing, the need for models of locally based community-building processes that meet real needs (fuel, shelter, food etc) for humans, and habitat restoration for wildlife, seem more relevant than ever!
Let us know if you'd like to be involved!