Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Evolving CACG "I Love That"

Now at three and a half years into the development of CACG I believe we are being guided to begin a new planting. I have some friends that punctuate almost every statement with “I love that” and I’m feeling the same way about the evolution of CACG. So to these new directional seeds I say “I love that”.
Late October Sunflower

Through Life in general we can be assured that change is necessary and constant. I feel that these CACG changes are gentle and joyful evolutionary shifts rather than a cataclysmic breakdown forcing radical change. It might be seen as the example of the forest flora and fauna adapting to a new stage of habitat development rather than recovery after a forest fire.  “I love that”.

A friend of mine reminds me not to ‘over think it’ when I write something for the blog …..       I can tell you that is out the window on this one :)

What is “Evolving” at CACG?
We note that consistent, responsible weekly management of the garden beds has landed in the hands of less than ten extremely dedicated friends. I am honored to work alongside these folks. I will not name them but they know who they are! These few have done much more individually than we know of collectively. They hold the vision with me of where the garden can lead us as a community.
The Center Avenue Community Garden concept has always been mindful of, and open to, other aspects of sustainable, resilient and happy Community Building.
Because of the gift of land as an available resource and my own gardening bias the edible and medicinal components have triumphed and formed the structure giving what is to follow a “There, there”  Other aspects of Permaculture not initially expressed in the launch of CACG would be, not in order of importance: Finance, Energy, Transport, Art, Education and Health plus a few others. “I love that”
Pioneers of the Garden September 11 2010

Initially we had more volunteers on a weekly basis and even though many only participated once or twice we were still able to add features and maintain the raised beds and perimeter plantings. Many came to learn about raised beds, what crops we were growing, when to harvest and how to eat them. They took the knowledge home to apply in their own space and that is a success for CACG. I hope this continues to happen because …. “I love that”
Calendulas. Good cover crop ... bit out of control!
This summer we have not been able to fully utilize the planted areas mainly because of fewer hands on Saturday mornings. We know that Saturdays are not good for some would be volunteers and we hold the space to be able to offer a weekday afternoon and or evening in the future. That would be ideal and at this time none of our ‘core’ group that know what needs to happen can commit consistently to that time in order to instruct drop in helpers as to what needs to happen that day. The slate by the storage area might offer some guidance yet there is only so much we can write on there (not enough details).
This underutilization of the raised beds combined with a burgeoning water bill ($345 for July /August) directs us to ‘edit’ our planting plans for the 2014 season by omitting the Tomatoes and Corn, Beans and Squash in ground planting areas.
We can look forward to a more vibrant, well cared for and financially sustainable raised bed section in 2014. “I love that”

Another Facet of CACG Evolution
While numbers of gardening participants have dwindled this year we have enjoyed strong participation and are inspired by the attendance at our community gathering type activities. These include the Burlap Sack Giveaway,  monthly Crop Swap, Kids Craft Evening and events centered around the barbeque pit. Not to forget the Movie Night which will resume soon. We plan to host more of these events in the future as a means of building community.

Even More Growth
This Spring and Summer the New Leaf students helped us build a Huglekulture bed as part of their curriculum.
I often hear the question ”Why don’t you get more school children involved”?
We have invited school groups. The challenge seems to be fitting it into the school curriculum requirements and just simply finding the time to visit CACG.

Daisies Growing
Our neighbor Elizabeth Mohr with Girl Scout Daisy troop33337 has contacted us regarding focusing their activities on one of our raised beds to further their Green By Nature philosophy. “I love that.”
This is a new direction for us because to date no specific area has been assigned to anyone. It has been decided that the “Thanks” bed best suits their purpose and the Girl Scouts will soon be taking responsibility for that area. They are likely to be helping in other areas of the garden and join us with the spirit of sharing. We will have a small sign set up to inform others of the educational function of this designated area.
Perhaps another local group will be willing to adopt another raised bed or specific area and this could be a great way forward for us!
The "Thanks" raised bed

However CACG is growing I’m continuously touched by stories of how people have found sanctuary, clarity, wisdom and some inner peace during a visit to the garden.
I am encouraged and inspired by those who hold the vision with me. Those who know, without the words to describe exactly how, that this park like space is an important oasis and common ground to bring our neighborhood together, to educate, open hearts and minds and remind us that together we can evolve and thrive.

 …. And I just love that!


1 comment:

  1. Great post, David. Thanks for everything you do!