Even though I’ve only been at the garden for about a month, I can honestly say that so far being a summer intern while doing research on the benefits of community gardening has been one of the best “work” experiences I have had. I can hardly call it work, though, because it’s so much fun!
Working in the garden is simply very rewarding. Not only do we get beautiful and delicious products from our labor, but we get to be a part of something bigger-a movement to develop healthy communities by growing, sharing, teaching, and learning about healthy food. It’s a cause that I’ve always felt strongly about, and it is amazing to be able to help promote local, sustainably grown food in Lewisburg. I am even surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the physical labor of the garden. Weeding, watering, and mulching are not exactly fun tasks in and of themselves (especially on these extremely hot and humid days we’ve been having), but when you’ve been helping to take care of these plants since they were seeds, you don’t mind as much. They’re like your own children
I’ve learned a lot during my first few weeks as an intern, like how to sucker tomatoes, kill potato bugs en masse, and harvest broccoli. I’ve developed a strong appreciation for rainstorms, mulch, and scuffle hoes. I’ve learned that getting dirty is inevitable-even when I think I’m just stopping by to water for a few minutes, I leave covered in mud. Most of all, I have begun to appreciate the value of community gardening by being able to meet with and talk to plot renters, and sharing each other’s excitement over the development of everyone’s gardens. When I bring friends and family to the garden, I am just as excited to show off other people’s plots as I am to show the side we’ve been working on.
Whether it’s through the plot renters and their families, Community Harvest, the summer camps, or volunteer hours, the garden has many wonderful contributions to the community and I’m so lucky to be a part of it!
~LCG Manning Research Intern Meg Ritchie, July 2014