By: Cheyenne Wilson

cheyenne-pic

Gardening is hard, way harder than I thought before. At the beginning of the week we started out excited to make a difference and by the middle of the week we were feeling the exhaustion of being in the sun working all day. We carried wheel barrows, and tipped a few, we turned and winterized beds, pulling out the old and making way for the new. We spent mornings in the City Seeds Garden and afternoons in various community gardens throughout St. Louis. There was a huge difference between the City Seeds Garden and the much smaller gardens we visited in the afternoons. But, what could be seen in both was the drive to better the lives of those around them. Every person I met had incredible drive that lasted even when times got rough. The City Seeds Garden has a program to help people suffering from addictions, mental illness and those released from prison develop skills to be able to join the work force. They are clients at the garden and work during the week while also taking classes and learning different skills through the 10-week course. I had the privilege of speaking with two of the clients who were happy to be working in the garden. They were very talkative and inquisitive about everything around them. One of the clients told me to always remember that you could read all of the books in the world but there is more to be learned by talking to someone, it could be anyone and you would always be able to learn something from them. I learned a lot from just talking to these guys and working in the different gardens. When we worked in the smaller community gardens the 16 of us could have a huge impact in just one day. It was amazing to see how much we could get done when it may take the few volunteers of the garden much longer to do. We worked in the VAL Garden where we had the particularly unpleasant task of pulling up all of the grass and putting down mulch. While we were sweaty, sore, irritated and discouraged Larry, the manager of the garden, came to me and told me how nice it was looking and that someone could actually take a picture in the garden now. We decided to work two days in the garden and while we weren’t able to finish everything we could stand back and look at how much of a difference we made for someone who was unable to do the kind of work we were doing. Through the course of the week I have realized how much of a difference gardening can make in a community, as well as in the lives of those who garden. So in the words of Ron Finley “Let’s plant some shit!”

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