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Why I Gave Up My Community Garden Plot

I’m the type of person who likes to jump in with both feet — & either sink or swim. Most times, I end up flailing for dear life & then float down river a bit. The same is true for the experience in farming. I daydream often about standing on a back patio at dawn & just staring across the horizon. The ground is littered with carrot tops & lettuce heads ready for plucking. The chickens need to be let out for foraging. The scent of the air. OH! The scent of the air! When we drive up to the butcher out in farm-country, I just instantly feel happier smelling the air. Who knew you could get high on clean air? It’s slightly nippy out since it’s so early in the morning. There’s still dew on the grass blades & I’m rockin’ some stylish rain boots after Washington’s glorious bipolar weather downpoured the night before.

And I open my eyes & I’m back in reality, which is the complete opposite of what I dream about.

My husband is the opposite kind of personality. He likes to ease into things. He started college wanting to do computer programming & it’s taken nearly 10 years to get to a point where he makes money doing that (& it’s still not a living wage). He knows I’m rather sporadic or indecisive about things: diet fads & hobbies; working out & life goals. So, he tries to force me to slow down & ease into things to make sure it’s what I want.

I wanted a farm. He wanted a garden. And not just any garden, a 4×8 garden.

I agreed. If anything, we’d get some produce out of it & self satisfaction that we aren’t ultimate black-thumbs. We could introduce the kids into nature & they’d enjoy digging in the dirt. We’d meet some of our neighbors & gain knowledge from the master gardeners. We’d feel good about working the food bank beds, helping other people who are financially strapped have access to organic, local produce. It’s be a precursor into my dream coming true.

But none of those things happened.

I will admit – NOTHING felt quite like harvesting our first batch of radishes. Last year, I got tops & no radishes. This year, there was actual little red bulbs & boy, were they the spiciest & most delicious radishes I’ve had my entire life. But things weren’t working out as planned…

The Spawns were having a difficult time staying out of the garden bed (& I don’t mean digging, I mean STOMPING in it). They would mess with other peoples’ garden décor or scream about bugs. We rarely ran into other gardeners & when we did, they weren’t the chattiest. I’m not saying they were judging, but my paranoia tells me they might of been. We never were able to make time to commit to our 10 hours of community garden bed working.

But there was at least seven other people on a waiting list who could…

We got the email that all the beds were rented for the year & there was a waiting list. I mulled it over a few days. Ultimately it was decided since we weren’t meeting our expectations, we would forfeit our bed this year.

And I’m OK with that.

Aside from zombie apocalypse preparedness & self-sustainability, part of the reason I want to farm is I am passionate about food. To see others questioning the food system & seeking the knowledge, that strikes a cord for me. I want a farm, but can’t have one at the moment. I’d hate to hold on to my plot when it’s not what I truly want, preventing someone else who truly wants just a little patch of soil & can’t have one because the availability isn’t there.

Although this journey is about “saving just three”, really, it is about all of us. Your actions to save just three grow into the bigger picture of helping many others. I can still “save” us by visiting farmers markets, u-pick farms, canning & learning — & most of all, sharing that knowledge & passion with others so they too will feel the need to save themselves… save their family & friends…. save our planet.

And it starts by giving someone else the opportunity in Plot #21.