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Thursday, June 3, 2010

SebastAPPEAL ~ Gardening Community

Gardening Community
by Sarah Glade Gurney, Mayor of Sebastopol

I hope this month brings us warm, sunny days, not our area’s typical “June gloom.” All those little vegetable starts that our gardeners optimistically planted, from late April through May, need the sun.

The iGROW launch – the countywide 350 Garden Challenge – was held on the weekend of May 15 and 16. Not able to attend, I hope we met and surpassed our symbolic 350 goal.

The following Saturday, May 22, was the second Backyard Garden Tour of the Sebastopol Walks Program. The 65-80 participants viewed the front, back, and side yards of seven locations in town. We learned about the regenerative values of “beyond permaculture” planning and planting. We experienced backyards without any fences, uniting several smaller properties into a larger one, bringing people of different ages and interests together. We were encouraged to plant “one thing we could eat,” a sensible baby-step to getting started, and to maintain “one plant to eat through the winter,” a sensible step to staying engaged. Along our three mile route, we passed several iGROW-350 projects, where natives, veggies, flowers, and swales replaced flat lawns.

On Sunday, May 23, our Center for the Arts toured another seven properties, in its new day-long event, “Gardens with Sculpture.” These gardens, each impressive in their own right, were graced with a variety of sculptures, many by local artists.

Wisdom, as I recall being recited by my grandmother, informs us of the many benefits of gardening. Gardening gets us outside and physically active. Hands in the earth, it therapeutically removes our busy minds from everyday stress. Chance encounters with a neighbor or passer-by provide us company. We are nourished with fresh, vital food and our lives are enhanced with opportunities to share.

Each of these gardening-related events brought people together to grow community. I extend my thanks to the many volunteers who made these activities possible and look forward, as we garden community, to watching our plants grow over the summer and to our harvest in the fall.

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