Six years ago I planted my first garden. It was a haphazard effort, digging some holes, dumping in seeds, watering when needed, and hoping for the best. Considering my lackluster effort, I reaped what seemed like an endless supply of cherry tomatoes, a flourish of basil, and mint til my heart was content and my glass always full of mojitos (though I’m pretty sure I never even planted mint, so that was a blessing from Mother Nature … or my upstairs neighbor). Every year since, I have planted my garden, reveling in the weeding, standing back to admire the cleanliness of the plot and imagining the harvest I’d be reaping in a couple months.
Up to this point, I’ve been a bit of a lazy gardener. But in my two years at Scratch and Peck, I’ve garnered an increased appreciation of our food system, and an awareness that it starts in our soil, not in our kitchen. I decided that this year I would put concerted energy into my garden, testing the soil, actually following the directions for the various seeds, and being deliberate about where everything is planted. My little 5’ x 5’ garden isn’t going to fix our food system, but it will certainly provide me with plenty of meals, plus extra veggies to share with friends and family.
Seeing firsthand the value that Scratch and Peck places on our food system, as well as our vision of a world where organic and whole foods are found on every table, I realized that this could be an opportunity for those of us who dabble in gardening, or even have only considered dabbling in gardening, to take on this adventure together. When I pitched the idea of Grow with Us, where I document my trials and tribulations in gardening, and invite my coworkers and our customers to do the same with their own growing adventures, I got an enthusiastic, “YES!”
What started as my pet project has quickly transitioned into a work-wide endeavor where doors keep opening. We are building three raised beds in the yard in front of our mill, the cedar courtesy of our Maintenance/Facilities Manager’s family lumber yard. Three of my coworkers worked for nurseries, a combined total of 29 years of experience. The owners of Scratch and Peck are providing seeds and a full grow-light setup for anyone on staff who wants to try their hand at gardening from seed. The seeds are coming from the amazing Uprising Seeds, which is only a half hour away from our mill. Those seed-to-starter plants will then make their way out to the raised beds where we’ll share the responsibilities of tending to the plants.
My coworkers have enthusiastically talked with me about how they are going to participate in Grow with Us. From a basil plant on their kitchen windowsill to tackling the disheveled garden that’s been left to its own devices, my coworkers (who are each and every one passionate and kind people) have given me the extra boost to make this all come to fruition. As everything is coming together, I find myself feeling a bit emotional at how “of the right path” this project feels.
So, with the energy and eagerness of Scratch and Peck at my side, we’d all like to invite you to find a way to participate in Grow with Us. Be it a tomato plant on your patio or a full gardening undertaking, find a homegrown way that resonates with you. Have kiddos? Get them involved too!
My own experience in gardening, albeit limited, has given me a tremendous sense of purpose (“I’m growing my own food!”, pride (“Holy moly, I grew that!”), a connection to nature (because one can never truly get all the dirt out from under fingernails), and a connection to others (because I always end up with too many veggies, and get to share them with friends and family). For me, gardening has been a level of meditation that I rarely experience.
Hopefully, as you participate in Grow with Us, you’ll discover ways that gardening benefits you, aside from having food at your fingertips. We’ll be sharing our successes (and even failures) as we grow, and ask you to do the same. Post pictures of your garden, tag us on Facebook and Instagram, use #GrowWithScratchandPeck with your posts, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s geek out and gush over what we’re doing! Let’s have fun, and share, and enjoy food that we’ve grown all by ourselves, for Pete’s sake! —Lindsey