Growing your own food is magic. The transformational journey from a tiny seed to a delicious meal is something to experience. In 2019, we just started. We didn’t need 100 acres of land or big time degrees in agriculture. We simply did what our ancestors have been doing for hundreds of years and planted some seeds. Soil, sunlight, water, and a little love.
The truth is that a “farm” doesn’t have to be a few hundred acres of sprawling wheat to count as a farm. Farms are in backyards, church parking lots, and even shipping containers now (ag-tech!). There is opportunity everywhere to reconnect with nature, health, and our innate ability to produce for ourselves and share with our neighbors. After some early visits to Farmer Craig and Coogan Farm in Mystic, CT, the Real Food CT team saw how simple efforts on less than an acre could effectively grow and donate 15K lbs of produce every season.
We are fortunate to have two wonderful partners in Newtown that agreed with us. Our first “Giving Garden” was restoring the small farm at Sticks and Stones Farm. They’ve got “healing, hiking, and happiness” on their home page if you want an idea of their vibe. Our second Giving Garden is at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary. Built in the honor of young Catherine, the Sanctuary represents compassion, acceptance, kindness, and honoring the bond between humans and animals. With the help of our Young Farmer Interns and volunteers we expect to grow 20K lbs of produce between the two gardens in 2022.
I believe that every town has a space for a Giving Garden. People will ask “Do you have problems attracting volunteers?” and I always respond “no.” Even the days we are short on hands, the heart and spirit of the people that show up always get the job done. Perhaps the only thing that tops the magic of growing food, is growing food to give it away. It’s a special feeling of service that everyone should persue and experience. Find a garden this season…and bring a friend!