Solidarity Sunday ~ Community Gardening

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This past winter I met Board Members for the local Community Gardening Organization. We have a lot of similar interests. Most of them are activists, restaurant and farm owners and local gardening store owners. I started following them on Instagram and learning through their photos and stories the impact communal gardens can have in a social-economically disadvantage area.

When New Jersey was put under a Stay At Home Order and I switched to 100% telework in mid-March due to COVID, my anxiety was out of control.  I decided to plant Kale, Spinach, Lettuce and Herbs on my balcony to help manage my anxiety. Kale, Spinach and Herbs have been doing great. Lettuce was unsuccessful so I dumped it out and planted a mix pot Kale and Spinach in the middle pot. My new gardening friends have been coaching on my balcony gardening since March. As it turns out, it’s pretty easy. Since I am really enjoying getting my hands dirty, I offered to volunteer at the Community Gardens.
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There are four Community Gardens in Atlantic City; each is in a socio-economical disadvantage section of the city.  I am currently volunteering at two of them by weeding and watering the garden. In the next few weeks, I will be planting as well. Below are photos of the two gardens. The first photo is a garden that was maintained by a local resident who passed away from COVID a few weeks ago. By the time the team got to it, it needed a lot of attention. You can see yellowing from sun.  This garden needed lots of weeding.  I worked here on Friday and Saturday this week.  The first two beds are Squash.  The second photo is another garden a few blocks away and it is in great shape.  You can see the Purple Cabbage, Kale and Swiss chard are growing nicely.  I’m am enjoying working in soil. It’s very grounding for me and it’s great for managing anxiety.
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What I enjoy most is that I am helping to grow food for people who do not have the means to purchase Organic produce. The group also teaches folks how to plant and care for their own food. For me, this is a great way to be part of the community. It’s a way for me to “walk my talk” and show solidarity for my community.

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