#27: Plant a garden & donate a row to the food pantry.
"To do more for the world than the world does for you - that is success." ~Henry Ford
Last Spring, while flipping through some seed catalogs that came in the mail, my mind began to wonder....what if everyone planted a garden and donated just one row to the food bank?
We keep hearing how times are rough, our economy is in turmoil, people are loosing their homes..and the food banks are running out of food. Since River has been a Cub Scout and we have volunteered at the Westchester Food Pantry in the past, I have seen the need and heard the stories first hand. And let's face it...who wants to eat someones old canned creamed corn for supper? We can do better then that!
We have the means to sustain ourselves and a garden is a small, simple step in that direction. I have planted many over the years..from a small potted patio garden in my first apartment to 10 raised beds, berry brambles, fruit trees and greenhouses when I lived in California. Even if you don't have a yard, plant a few pots of lettuce or cherry tomatoes...put it in a sunny window, use the rooftop of your apartment building, ask a friend or neighbor who has land if you can use some space...just do it and you will be rewarded! (A great book on this is Food Not Lawns by Heather Flores) It fills me with so much pleasure when I can make a meal from food that I grew. And the flavor..oh the flavor...mmm... There is nothing like food fresh picked and warm from the sun! And the smell of dirt..ooohhh. I find great joy knowing where my food came from, that it is organically grown & nourishing my kids growing bodies with all our garden has to offer. And what an amazing learning experience it has been for the kids....hunting for slugs, digging in the dirt, eating green beans off the bush, building scarecrows...they LOVE spending time out there and then helping in the kitchen later. It always amazes me how a child who claims he doesn't like tomatoes will gobble them up if you tell him they came from his garden. ;)
I was lucky enough to have my best friends father offer up a plot for me back on his property. I am so grateful to Bill for his generosity and help tending to my rows. Truth be told, I not only got my garden in very late in the season but also have had very little time to tend to it myself. With moving this summer and all the kids activities, it has been a stretch, but we have had enough rain to keep everything in full bloom. And the weeds? Well.. they just keep growing until I have a moment to get over there and pull them..adds character, right? lol Next year I have BIG plans for that little plot of mine..
"Inch by inch..row by row...gonna make this garden grow..all it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.."
So the kids and I set to work in June picking and choosing just what we wanted to grow. We raked and hoed (Bill tilled..) planted and watered and waited for nature to do her work...
And finally..at the end of August we have red tomatoes! And green beans... and squash... and zucchini ...and peppers ...and acorn squash ...and a watermelon....! Slowly but surely it is all coming in and dinners are tastier!
Number 27 on my "30 Things to do While I'm 30" list was officially checked off. (and no, I have not done them in any particular order..still so much to do!) On Monday I was able to take my first trip to the food pantry with a whopping 35lbs of fresh produce!!!
Life is good.
When I dropped it off, I had the nicest chat with the elderly lady that runs it about compost and rain barrels....I can't wait to meet with her again and offer another bushel of food.
When we slow down and share a slice of kindness with others, we really are greatly rewarded by the simple things, such as, that wonderful conversation had with a new friend.
For anyone interested in donating to the Westchester Food Pantry, you can contact them at 926-4278. They are located in the Hawthorne Park community building in Porter and are open every other Tuesday from 9am-noon.