I've gotten a tremendous amount of aid in various support groups. When I started visiting them as an adjunct to therapy, my main focus was on food. I thought I was there to lose weight, and I was shocked and amazed to gain so much in accomplishment, community, and happiness. It got to be so that, when I would speak in those groups, after having dropped 160 pounds or so, I would say something like, "it's not about the food."
I now see that as insensitive revisionism. Until I dropped the weight, it was definitely about the food, even if it was also about other stuff.
I'm reminded of that as I check in about my experience as a member of the Robbins Farm gardening group. We are 15 people who are jointly farming a small plot of land at Robbins Farm Park, which is about a block from where we live in Arlington. Unlike most community gardens, we are not separate gardeners working connected plots. We're a cooperative group, working one plot of land together.
To recap sentiments I've expressed before, I love what this experience is doing for me: I'm more connected to my neighbors, both among my peers in the garden and among all the folks who stop by to gaze or chat. I'm also learning a great deal about gardening.
But what about the food?! When joining, I barely acknowledged that a bunch of locally grown, "free" organic produce (not only are we investing sweat equity, everyone had to pony up $75 at the beginning of the spring) would result as well. Here's what I brought home last night:
Clockwise from bottom left: Arugula, zucchini, amaranth, Swiss chard, calendula and nasturtium, lettuce, dinosaur kale, collard greens, green and purple basil, chives, two kinds of eggplant, jalapenos, a cute little carrot, three kinds of bush beans, a Cuban pepper (I think), inion, parsley, and a pattypan squash.
It is definitely about the food, too.
Next harvest, though I will miss it, is in three days.