It’s a little hard to imagine right now as the snow blankets the back yard and the garden lays quiet. A few browned squash vines and sunflower stems poke through the drifts. I watch from the window as a fierce wind blows the dried fountain grass fronds, crisp tips tickling the frozen ground. Images of lush lettuces, vibrant zinnias, radishes pushing their ruby heads through loamy soil are but a distant memory.
Come mid-March, though, the work will begin. Brad and the boys will head to the raised beds, rakes and hoes and pitch forks in hand. They’ll turn over the dirt, burying decaying leaves and stems, pat the soil smooth with their palms, and drop seeds one by one into the earth as the sun warms their bent backs. And then we’ll wait, checking the beds each day to glimpse those first tender shoots push through the dirt.
Planting the garden is a much-cherished ritual for us each spring. As February inches glacially from one grey day to the next we grow impatient, eager to plunge our hands into soil that still holds winter’s chill. Eager to scrub the dirt from beneath our fingernails, to smell the earthy scent of rain and worms and birthing green.
But while planting the garden is eagerly awaited and anticipated, it’s not by any stretch a necessity. It’s not a lifeline for us. We have SuperSaver for that, with its pyramids of cauliflower and leeks, its aisles lined floor to ceiling with jars of salsa to suit every palette, cereals and breakfast bars and pasta and beans and breads and bottles of juice.
My family doesn’t need a garden. We have one because it’s fun.
It goes without saying that this is not the case for most of the world’s population. Most of the people around our globe need a garden, not for fun, not for entertainment, not because it’s hip and “earthy-friendly” to grow your own food, but to survive.
Meet Lisa-Jo Baker. Lisa-Jo was born and raised in South Africa, a place where a large percentage of the population struggles every day to survive. Her extended family lives there, including her dad, a doctor, her stepmom and her three adopted siblings. Lisa-Jo’s siblings are from Pretoria, South Africa, in an area called Maubane, where about 150 adults and 250 orphans and vulnerable children meet on an open plot of land every week for church, for meals, for play.
And these family and friends of Lisa-Jo, these people she loves from this place that runs deep in her veins? They need a community garden. They need a garden to survive and thrive.
Last year Lisa-Jo partnered with her beautiful blog community and Pure Charity to raise more than $5,000 (in 12 hours flat!) to build a community water point in Maubane. This is the water that will sustain the community garden, the next phase of the Maubane Community Center project in South Africa.
And this, friends, is where YOU come in.
Will you help the people of Maubane raise the $5,000 needed to create this community garden, a garden that will sustain and nurture the lives of 400 people?
This garden will produce spinach, beans, tomatoes, carrots, corn and soya — enough to feed the entire community as well as be a source of sales income. Your contribution will help cover the cost of farm tools, fencing to keep out cattle, irrigation equipment, training and vegetables and seeds to plant. Every donation will help, no matter how small, because every part of this project is needed right now – from the largest tractor to the tiniest seed.
So what do you say? It’s Valentine’s Day, right? Let’s do this thing! Let’s spread the love beyond chocolates and conversation hearts and Hallmark cards. Let’s plant seeds of love 9,600 miles away in Maubane, South Africa!
Today, on Valentine’s Day, let’s fall in love with the world next door.
Ok, now. If you’re Triple Type A like me and you like the nitty-gritty, here are a few more details about the Maubane Community Center Project. The overall goal is to have not just the garden but the entire Maubane Community Center fully funded ($150,000!) by Mother’s Day. So if veggies aren’t your thing, feel free to learn more about and donate to another phase that strikes your fancy.
Phase 1: Community Vegetable Garden
Phase 2: Community Kitchen and Welcome Center
Phase 3: Community Outreach Hall
Phase 4: 12 Classrooms
Phase 5: Playground
So? Are you in? I thought so! *Thank you*