I’m going to tell you a story about two people who met for the first time over a shared love of growing a garden.
During the winter we all lust for spring. Once the ground begins to thaw, we see the potential for green grass to be tilled and turned into beds for fruits, vegetables and herbs that we then pick ourselves and prepare in our own homes, or share with others.
Those feelings were inside my heart, jumping out of my skin like prickly goosebumps. For two years now I have had a backyard that receives partial sun and with much help from Rahul, we’ve turned it into a small garden of a few raised beds and potted plants. Last year our harvest of jalapeno peppers was so large that I brought bags of them to work to give away to coworkers. My bounty was successful and I was proud to share my harvest with others.
Prior to our move to a single family home with a fenced in backyard, we spent three years in an apartment complex where we had no land of our own to harvest. I know many people who love apartment living but wish they had a plot of land they could tend and grow on.
Christie works for Growing Places Indy, a nonprofit that hosts a summer apprenticeship gardening program and supports Indianapolis community gardens in all sorts of ways. She and I met to get to know each other and discuss just how involved we wanted to be. Christie has energy and smiles and is way more knowledgeable about gardening than me, but she fosters a sense of security in this and I’m so happy to we are able to work on this project together.
Community gardens are a lot of work, but no difficult problem is solved with a simple solution. The Keystone-Monon neighborhood is diverse. We are sandwiched between Meridian-Kessler, Butler Tarkington and some of the most wealthy and high crime neighborhoods in the city. While I would not say we are a food dessert – there is a Fresh Market just on the edge of the neighborhood and an Aldi – we are surrounded by gas stations and convenience stores where poor food choices can be made for cheap.
A side effect of this project comes in my personal emotional gains by getting out of the house and working with people. The opportunity to not sit at a computer for hours on end when I am already doing that full time is appealing (though ironic as I lay my heart out in print for you here). I reflected on this new feeling of stepping outside of the work I do at home – recipe development, photography, food research – to do work in the community. I understand the potential to change people’s lives, and that is so much more valuable to me than sharing my own opinions and feelings about food all of the time. Having a partner to work with makes it even more fun and I am more dedicated to moving forward and getting things done.
And this is how it makes me feel.
THE KEYSTONE-MONON COMMUNITY GARDEN
Neighbors are welcome to join us at the first organizing meeting for the Keystone-Monon community garden on Friday, March 13 at Easter Seals Crossroads (4740 Kingsway Drive) at 7 PM. This meeting is for everyone to introduce themselves and discuss what they want see and desire out of a community garden.
We believe a community garden will yield countless benefits, including:
- Growing community cohesiveness.
- Providing a place for residents to grow our own food and learn from each other.
- Increasing neighborhood pride and beauty.
- Building knowledge and engaging the full diversity of our community.
- And so much more!
All are encouraged to participate, and we seek the partnership, friendship, and talents of our neighborhood organizations, churches, businesses, schools, and residents. You do not have to have any prior knowledge of gardening to join in. All you need is a desire to learn.
How to get involved:
- Join us for our organization meeting on Friday, March 13, from 7-8:30 pm. Please RSVP if possible to KMCommunityGarden@gmail.com.
- Spread the word with the attached meeting flyer.
- Email us with questions or ideas.
- Let us know if you’d like to be added to our email list.
- “Like” us on Facebook for more up-to-date information and inspiration at https://www.facebook.com/KMCommunityGarden.
If the Keystone-Monon neighborhood isn’t where you live, feel free to come to the meeting anyway and see how we are starting this garden from the ground up. Maybe you will be inspired to build a community garden in your neighborhood!