By: Juliana Siler

Throughout the last week, I have learned many new skills, such as how to properly use a hoe to dig up old garden beds, how to harvest crops such as squash, pumpkins (Which yes, I know, are a type of squash,) sweet potatoes, and tomatoes, how to correctly weed garden beds, how to then winterize those same beds, as well as learning how food goes directly from the garden to the soup kitchens. I think the most important moments of my week were both of these, in no particular order, one: I went to a community garden in the afternoon and helped out an older man named Larry in his garden, he was extremely adorable and told me why our herbs never grew, and also taught me how to make my mosquito bites stop itching, thanks Lar. (P.S. Mama I’ve adopted him as my grandfather, he’s coming for Christmas, be ready.) There was also a morning as we were working in the City Seeds garden and I washed vegetables headed out for the food pantry with a man named Ed, he is a former client of City Seeds and he graduated from their program in the spring but still comes back to volunteer with Gateway Greening, we didn’t talk about his time in prison, or what he did to get there, but we did talk about life in general, he told me that he liked gardening because he spent thirty-five years in construction and gardening was a nice change of pace, we talked about our Gap program, and how nice it was to be able to travel around the U.S. for so many years, and for a few minutes while we washed the harvest from the day we talked pleasantly about life, and it was very rewarding. For those of you that don’t know, City Seeds is a program for those transitioning out of homelessness and/or the prison system and teaches them skills in the hopes that they can use those skills to get a job. Overall, my experiences in all of the gardens we visited were lovely, and it was a great week getting to learn new skills and meeting new people.

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