I started gardening about 25 or 30 years ago growing vegetables but a new house brought new horizons and, zip, off the ornamental cliff I went. A few years ago, I got the itch again. Tried some tomatoes at home but just not enough light and so I eventually made contact with someone who knew someone at the community urban farm, which is not even a block away. The Anderson Urban Farm sits on a sweet piece of property. A long defunct farm owned by the Anderson Township (of Ohio) Historical Society, it features a few old houses, a really cool barn, chickens, and one of the largest, most beautiful beech trees I’ve ever seen.
For a reasonable fee, you can rent–I’m guessing–an 8′ x 20′ plot, or, for twice the money, twice the land. The soil is pretty fertile and a local company has even donated compost you can wheelbarrow to your plot.
I don’t know what the rules are. I’ve never read them. Nor have I read the many emails that come from the President. I should. And I feel bad that I don’t. But, Lord, I am so incredibly busy in my life right now and I don’t have time for all the volunteer work days and activities they schedule. Someday, as soon as my schedule thins a little, I will. I will be a better member, because, dammit, it looks like they have a lot of fun.
As for the vegetable plots, you wouldn’t believe the bounty. Vegetable gardening is hard and some of these people are really, really good. Each plot has its own elements giving it its own character. You’ve got the hardcore vegetable producing gardens but then there are plots with just pollinator plants. Many feature both.
And then there is the art. Colorful, comical, and corny. Very, very corny. You’ve got figurines and whirlygigs, thingamajigs and signage. Sometimes it draws me in. Sometimes it repels me. But at the end of the day, it’s all fun.
Although I’ve done nothing to take full advantage of all the fun and friends more participation would bring, I love what this garden represents, what it’s doing, and all it will do. Good people working the soil, growing healthy food, feeding the pollinators, meeting each other, and playing. Yes, playing. Sometimes I love that bittersweet feeling that observing from a distance brings. And that’s okay for a while. It brings perspective. Sometimes it gives me a sense of my place. But getting down in it, getting involved, meeting people, making friends and having fun is far, far better for the long run. I plan to reset soon. Stop being so damned busy all the time. Or, at least, less busy with some things so I can be more busy with others. Like hanging out at the farm. You could do far worse than that.