"I was so stressed when I left home, but once I came here to th´vegetable garden and I see there is new life emerging, it gives me hope that I can manage my problems."
Growing life, growing souls
Hunger and food security are urgent issues in our village, and in many rural communities. In 2009, I was approached by young adults for help with turning under utilised land into a vegetable garden. With help from one of the groups who were doing trails with me, we built a fence, invested in a water tank and connected irrigation pipes to water pumped from the river. We brought cattle dung and vegetable scraps from home to feed the land, and so the first garden was born.
Since then, we have created six more organic and permaculture community gardens. The group responsible for the garden shares the labour, and the crops. Anyone in the group can harvest what they need, as long as enough is left for the others, and also for sales. We supply local schools for feeding projects, and to community members at a weekly market. Any profits are first ploughed back into the project to buy seeds and equipment, then divided amongst the group so that they have money for school fees and other necessities.
I started the gardens to feeding the bodies of my community. But soon saw it was feeding their hearts and minds too. By following the patterns of nature in the gardens, with their hands immersed in the soil, the young adults connect deeply with the healing power of the earth. They were empowered by realising they could work with the earth to feed their families and pay for what the needed. The gardens have helped to restore dignity and pride, and has deepened relationships of co-operation and trust. Working with soil, with cow dung and compost has grounded people with the earth, and has helped them rediscover lost hope. The human relationships of love, cooperation and gratitude generated by the garden in themselves have become a kind of compost that has helped these young adults to grow harmony in the community.
Helping with the vegetable gardens can be included with any of the sacred journeys. Email email@example.com to find out more.