Here is one success story for a new
Toledo garden, which is a success story for all. One of the volunteer
garden leaders here (Ida), has a daughter with 3 children who is a
homeschool mom (Roschelle). Roschelle had been attending the monthly
garden meetings we offer for about a year with Ida, and really wanted to
start a garden herself, but was unsure who to involve, and how to pull it all
together. She then decided to tap the homeschool community that she was
a part of, and very easily recruited 7 families to start a garden. It
took us almost a year to get a signed agreement with the land owners where the
group wanted to put their garden....the Fraternal Order of Police
grounds....as they had quite a beaurocracy to deal with, and apathy when it
comes to gardening.
Finally, we broke ground last spring,
and rototilled their overly ambitious 90 X 100 foot garden. Between the
12 children involved, there were 20 individual (5 X 5) plots for the kids, and
then there were community areas--tomatoes, viney stuff, etc. After about
1/3 of the (dry) summer was over, we got a hydrant meter (city waived the $300
deposit), and we gave some donated hose to the garden, which meant that they
no longer had to "carry" water. After having so much trouble with "the
police", one of the FOPs staked out a corner and gardened it himself.
The group wanted a picnic table where they could do table-work and have
snacks/lunch. I put the word out and a table was donated by one of our
community garden committee members.
Things went wonderful--planning and
planting--and then the weeds invaded the community areas (!)....but
worse...near tragedy struck. Roschelle's husband (Byron), had a
stroke--3 strokes in fact, and was hospitalized for about a month. Other
gardeners took over the leadership role, as Roschelle was unable to play a
major role in the garden for a while. The gardeners created their
own listserve to communicate with each other and our org.
Byron is doing well and will be recovering at home for about a year.
Below I'm pasting an excerpt from their listserve.
“It was, like that infamous
September 11th of last year, another beautiful day. We arrived at the garden
right before sunset which made our garden appear really charming. The kids
don't see the weeds or the what didn't grow or what we didn't accomplish. They
run to their plots to see what new vegetables, herbs, or flower they can
harvest. And despite everything there is always something! Despite everything,
and we've been through alot in and outside of that garden, I think the garden
is a great success. If you don't think so then you ought to hear Vincent,
Vivian and Bryce telling our friends and family about all the things they've
grown. You should see how proud they are to drop off some of our bounty to the
soup kitchen or Senior's Lunch Program we've "adopted". And you've gotta
listen in on a conversation I heard them telling a friend about now they can
add ‘gardener’ to the list of the possible future careers.” Tanya Walker,
Independence Homeschool Garden, September 11, 2002.
Byron attended our annual Harvest
Festival with his family, and spoke a few words to the attendees after
Roschelle received her garden leader award. He said that he had never
been a gardener before, but after this summer, he was hooked.
He had taken responsibility for doing most of the watering of the
garden, and told how he began taking pride in the plants as he watched them
grow over the summer. He even did some weeding...and next year he would
like to be involved in the planting as well. Pictured are some of the
gardeners posing by the giant sunflower.
We are stardust . . .
we are golden . . . and we've got to get ourselves back to