Sunday, February 1, 2009

Confessions of a Gardening Addict

I wouldn't say I have a brown thumb, but it isn't exactly green either.

Last spring I helped get this farm off the ground. I met Julia Dashe, learned what other schools were doing, and made a proposal to the San Diego City College Foundation. They supported us with an initial grant that allowed us to hire our farmers and gardening educators Paul Maschka and Julia.

Then I let stepped back and let them work their magic. Summer and fall flew by, and together with students and community volunteers, what had been a sterile grass lawn became a thriving ecoculture, home to vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, butterflies, birds and ladybugs - and of course earthworms!

As the fall semester dwindled down I began to get my hands dirty for the first time. I volunteered throughout the semester break. To my astonishment, even though school was out (and it was often quite chilly) I was just one of several volunteers at the farm. The day after Christmas and the day after New Years - it didn't matter - people were always there working the land. And I began to realize that this wasn't about me donating my time and energy, it was about the comradery and joy that I experienced by being part of such a wonderful group of people.

And then there were the lessons. Each day Paul would spend a few minutes teaching us - perhaps a specific technique or a history of a certain plant or about organic versus industrial farming. One day we had a lesson in weeds. We followed him around the farm as he pointed out the good and the bad, the tasty and the poisonous. I had no idea gardening could be so much fun.

Nowadays, I can barely fall asleep on Friday nights, because I'm so excited about heading to the farm first thing in the morning.

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