I enjoy gardening. There is just something I really like about going out and pulling weeds. I can sit there and completely de-stress when plucking thistles from the earth for an hour (see video below, the hour is condensed into 12 seconds.) I’m not saying I’m really any good at gardening (well, I’m actually pretty good at growing thistles) but I do enjoy the process and its just one of many things that I find passion for then try to learn as much as I can about. So when the opportunity arose to take over an abandoned plot at the community organic garden, I jumped up and offered to create a Hunger Free ND Garden Project. You know, because I have all sorts of spare time and energy [enter sarcastic tone here; continue to end]
Growing a garden to donate to the food shelf is not going to be an ideal venture for everyone. I decided I should share with you a few reasons why you should NOT volunteer to manage a plot to grow vegetables to give to people in need.
1. Bug Spray & Sunscreen
You are going to need to invest in sunscreen and bug spray and I don’t just mean a little bit of SPF 15. You’re going to need the hardcore stuff. SPF 70 waterproof, sweatproof, and you’re going to need to buy it in bulk because you will be pulling weeds all the time.
For the bug spray you need the hardcore stuff for that too. Its got to have maximum DEET and other chemicals and the highest amount possible because let me tell you, if you are not wearing a thick coat of that stuff you will have all of your blood sucked out in mere minutes
2. Walmart* & The Dollar Tree
You will probably have to go to the dollar store or Walmart. I know this sounds absolutely horrible. Because honestly, if you’re the type of person that is growing an organic garden to donate the vegetables to the needy you’re probably not the kind of person that needs to go to Walmart or the dollar store. However, it is required. You will need to invest at least $5 in buying some gloves, small hand tools, and maybe even a bucket for water. I know it will be hard, but you can make it in and out of the dollar store without ruining your reputation.
3. Weeds. Lots an lots of weeds.
I’ll let the video speak for itself.
4. Farmers Foot
You will need to consider getting regular pedicures because you will come down with something I like to call “Farmers Foot.” Its kinda like a regular farmer tan, but instead of where the t-shirt sleeve hits on the bicep, its on your feet. I wear my flip flops out to the garden because, after all, it’s the middle of summer and it’s hot and I do not want to be wearing tennis shoes. Its also sometimes a bit muddy and I’d rather not gunk up my running shoes. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So, then of course, I build up some lovely calluses. On top of the calluses, there is caked on mud and dirt. It doesn’t matter how much I exfoliate or how much soap I use, I’m pretty sure that the dirt underneath my toenails is never going to go away.
This next reason isn’t numbered because really, it could go either way depending on how anti-social you are: You may not get to a thank you directly from the people you’re helping. More than likely you’re going to bring the harvest over and drop veggies off with an employee or volunteer and never actually see the people who will be receiving the fruits of your labor. This, of course, will be entirely your own fault because if you wanted to work with people you would have volunteered to work with people rather than just growing a garden and donating what you have grown.
Pretty much that’s it, except for perhaps you shouldn’t grow a garden for the food shelf because of the giant mosquitoes (oh, did I mention bug spray yet?) I’ve heard they are the state bird of Minnesota. My garden plot is on the Minnesota side of the river, but I suppose I’m not really one to listen to reason, so I think I’ll continue growing my garden anyway.
*Note, I actually have nothing against Walmart. Its just an easy target to pick on. Get it? See the pun there? Target?
Brandi is a childbirth educator and birth doula living in West Fargo, ND. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, knitting and filling up her craft room with new projects when she isn’t helping families create their birth experience. You can find her actively posting on Facebook & Instagram. #dayspringdoula