I’ve recently begun volunteering at a local community garden. Both words—community and garden—are meaningful. Our community consists of 8 people of varying ages and abilities. We each have our own small plot of land that we tend, but we also care for the whole—weeding, watering, working the compost pile and overall maintenance. If someone is out of town, one of us keeps an eye on their plot. We share ideas, talk things over, and make decisions that affect the Big Picture. Building community or building a garden both take work.
Not only are the 8 of us becoming a community, but our garden serves a broader community. The vegetables we grow are donated to a local food pantry. Our labor helps provide others with healthy food to eat. Because it’s spring, we’ve mostly had lettuce and other greens. Later in the summer there will be tomatoes, squash, peppers and beans. As our garden grows, the community grows, too. I don’t know if St. Angela had a communal garden in mind when she told her first daughters to “build community wherever you go” but it’s what’s happening these days at our community garden!