Community Gardening Update
Bob Ellenberg
April 1999

When Bob first wrote about his experiences at McRorie community gardens, there were still only a few plots being used. This is an update on progress at the gardens. If you would like to get involved, give Bob a call at 335-4335.

After I had been gardening at McRorie community garden on SE 4th Street for a few weeks, I learned that the coordinator of the project had gone off to school in Tallahassee, and like I am apt to do, I volunteered to take over as coordinator. With some help from one of the other avid gardeners, we enthusiastically decided on a plan to get all the plots filled and to work on having regular work parties with the other 24 plot members.

Recently on a Saturday morning about a dozen of us showed up for a work party that would turn the garden into a beautiful show place of a collective community project. While some people working on their own spaces part of the time, others were working on common areas planting flowers, sunflowers, and vegetable plants that one of the members had donated. Then, with no commands or dictates, people would move from their own plats to the common areas and visa versa. There was very little direction given, except suggestions by someone that we do this or that, and without having to get consensus, the few, with respect for the whole picture, worked on throughout the morning with no irritability on anyone's part.

Unlike almost any job where there is usually someone always telling us what to do, in a spirited collective effort there is a shared commitment to do it together so everything works out for the common good.

Most of us want to have little to do with gardening. Due to the ease and comfort of buying veggies that are mass produced by the multinational corporations using chemicals and poisons, we've gotten so far from what is basic to our natural way. We don't know what it is to do it for ourselves. We have abrogated that responsibility and forgotten who and what we are.

It's a spiritual, social, and personal effort to take charge of what we are eating. It's stepping forward and reminding our deeper selves that, yes, this is who I am and I don't have to depend on the blood-sucking, greedy purveyors of poison food. Believe me, amazing, almost miraculous results occur when we put in the sweat labor of digging in the earth, shoveling the manure and compost, putting in the seeds and giving tender care and love to the plants as they grow. It really takes a lot less effort than most people are afraid it will take. And the satisfaction of the harvest is worth much more than all that goes into it.

If anyone wants more information about how to make this a reality for themselves, their friends and family, please get in touch with me for more information at 335-4335.

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