We post such annoying gardening photos on our Facebook page during our summer and fall growing seasons. Closeups of purple broccoli, ginormous mustard greens, and curly kale. We can’t help it. Over the past 8 years that my husband Scott and I have been gardening together, our passion for gardening has blossomed a joy that we can’t wait to share with a child when we adopt.
Gardening has become a life affirming meditation of sorts for us. It is an ongoing challenge and education on what to grow, where and when to grow it, how to grow it, how to enrich soil, when and how much to water, and what tools to use. It is science and art. But, it also has become a way for us to share our best self with the people we love through things that we’ve grown.
We’ve hosted slow food gatherings with friends at least once a year. We try to schedule it when we have fresh food from the garden, or if not, we’ll use foods that we’ve preserved from the garden. Friends will bring food they grow or local brews, wines, dishes made with local ingredients. We’ll have deer that Scott’s hunted, or fish that he’s caught. It has become a way, too, for us to expand our cooking skills and prepare something special, unique or interesting- like sauerkraut, kimchee, or rabbit stew- from things we grow or Scott hunts.
This year we’ve been able to share our bounty with our local food bank, which takes donations of vegetables from local farms and gardens. This has been a wonderful way for us to give back to our little community, to those who have suffered in this economy or who are just temporarily down on their luck.
This past year I’ve been volunteering with Healthy Harvest Youth – a program that is part of the curriculum for 3rd graders, teaching nutrition and gardening through growing a vegetable garden in outdoor raised beds, which we seed and harvest with the kids at the end of the season, culminating in a loud and bountiful harvest party. This effort truly ties into our philosophy that cultivating a respect of nature can happen through introducing gardening to children. We feel, like my new heroes Barbara Damrosch & Eliot Coleman, that “nothing is as successful in capturing young minds with the miracles of the natural world than the quick transformation of that tiny seed they helped to plant into the radish they pluck from the soil three weeks later.” I’ve seen it happen in those 3rd graders excitement over seedlings and bugs, and in their excitement over eating what they grow.
This is one of things that we are so excited about sharing with a child when we are lucky to adopt. I get giddy thinking about sharing stories and reading, listening to music and playing piano together, and coloring and creating. But even more, we do jumping jacks thinking about sharing growing a garden- of seeing a child pop a blueberry in their mouth and smile, pull a carrot up and chomp down on its sweetness and crunchiness and see the magic happen over time when watering a lima bean.