We have a plot in a community garden across the street from where our Pandemic headquarters have been the past couple of years. We’ve actually had this plot longer than the past couple of years but definitely have become more attached and attentive to it during the Pandemic when we needed something to care for and a peaceful place to go.
I love when it’s my turn to water the garden. We have a schedule but I often offer to water on days that aren’t my own, or go with whoever is watering to check in on how our little garden is doing. Most often I water upon my arrival at work, before 9:30am when the air is still cool and I need some relief from the stress of taking the bus to work.
Today, however, I only had time to water before I left for the day. I found two of our community members eating lunch together at a picnic table in the garden and laughing together. I waved at them, and them at me and proceeded to fill a watering can from the rain barrel. I don’t know these women too well yet so I didn’t want to disturb their lunch and laughter too much.
Suddenly one of them was at my shoulder offering me a bag with a few tomato plants inside. She said that it had been given to her but she had too many and wanted me to put it in our garden. I thanked her and took them out of the bag, planting them in the only little spot left that we had room.
Upon watering and inspecting I found some mature green snap peas hanging from four of our plants. I plucked them off, a small offering, and put them on the table where the women were eating. “For you!” I said and they thanked me abundantly asking if I was sure.
I went back to fill the can again and I heard the woman laughing and giggling. I looked over and one of them stood up with a small container containing a slice of cake. She smiled as she handed it to me and said, “For you!”
We all laughed at this game we were playing of back and forth and as I finished watering, I grabbed a few more peas and placed them on their table, laughing with them about the gossip they were sharing even though I had no idea what it was about.
I was pleased to see them so happy, and to foster a connection with these women in a new way. I’ve only ever seen them in our line for to go food where the chance to stop and connect is there, but smaller and shorter than it used to be when we sat and ate together. I was grateful for this giving garden. It gives me joy and peace, produce and a place to take care. It gives me friendships, new plants, cake, and laughter.
We share the food that comes out of it, the opportunity to water it, the land of it with our friends, and much more. This giving garden has given much indeed, and I am so thankful.
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries, a community organization in Parkdale. In order to do this work I must fundraise for my entire salary. If you would like to support my work, please leave a comment below and I will get in touch!