Middle Aged Women Rock

By Bonnie Grant | November 20, 2021
Image by Prostock-Studio
by Bonnie Grant
November 20, 2021

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a little tribe of women gardeners. They were all volunteers for our neighborhood pea patch, or community garden. While most of us were getting a little long in the tooth, we ran circles around the younger volunteers. Each one of us just had such a passion and belief that everyone should have access to garden spaces, vacant lots should be productive and beautiful, and anyone should be able to grow their own food. 

Gardening Together

It’s been 12 years or so, and sadly I can’t remember anyone’s names, but I certainly remember the time spent with the gaggle of gardener ladies. There were men helping too, but for some reason I really remember the women. Perhaps it is because we were all birds of a feather in many ways. Whatever the reason, I treasure the time I had to spend with these creative and committed women. 

Our street had a vacant lot and the head of the crew campaigned the local electric company that owned it for use as a pea patch. Her tenacity worked over time, and they agreed to not only let it be used for the community, but donated many of the items we needed to get started. 

In order to get going on such a project you need not only volunteers. You need stuff like compost, building materials, tools, a secure building to store tools, and much more. Since this was partly a city project, there was a little seed money, but not much. Most of the needs had to be delivered. Our head gardener was intrepid in her search for businesses and organizations that would donate items and money. Soon plants, soil amendments, tools, a bench, and more began to flood in. 

Garden Volunteering

We met on weekends to start the gardens. First there was clearing the land, building paths, installing hoses, and erecting a shed. These women worked like crazy people. Everyone seemed to have a different useful skill, so every day saw incredible changes and soon we had the skeleton of a pea patch. The lot had to be divided into spaces, for which local gardeners would apply. Each volunteer automatically got a spot but most of us donated them back to the community so someone else could have a chance. 

As you can imagine, there was a lot of laughter along with the intense toil. We all came from various backgrounds but seemed to fit seamlessly. There was no talk of politics or religion, or anything divisive. Instead, we spent our time talking about plants, food, children, and the next steps on the project. 

Even though we worked hard, it was truly a pleasure to spend time with these people. It was a labor of love for each and every participant, and one which I hope will remain on the corner for decades to come. 

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