Gardening: Building Friendships and Empowerment

We are giving Food Shuttle program participants a chance to share their experiences with you in their own words. Meet Barbara and Marion—best friends and Seed to Supper and Growing Community participants.

Q: How did you find out about the Food Shuttle’s gardening programs?

Marion: I received an email, it was about gardening, and I was like—oh, this is what I look forward to doing! I came to the garden, I started planting, and it was very therapeutic for me-- whatever’s bothering you, it just disappears.

Barbara: I got introduced to the garden by Marion. I attended classes and met Katie and got my first bed.  One Sunday, I came and sat out here for five hours. I was enjoying myself so much, I didn’t realize the time had flown by! It’s peaceful.

Q: How do these programs bring people together?

Marion: Me and Barbara come out here together and we see other gardeners. We are learning what they are growing, and we share information and plants and produce. It saves me financially—when I go to the grocery store, I don’t have to worry about buying things I can just go to the garden and pick.

Q: Who do you think would benefit from participating?

Marion: I think it’s good for all ages, to be honest. A kid, they are tasting different things, they are learning, but they don’t realize they are learning. The cooking classes that they have for kids here, they are learning how to eat healthy foods.

Q: How did the lessons empower you?

Marion: You have to make a commitment to it, because it is a whole lot to learn: how to compost, what to compost, what is a weed, what is healthy, what is a medicinal herb …

Barbara in the garden with her most recent harvest.

Barbara in the garden with her most recent harvest.

Barbara: If I can do it, that’s an example for a lot of folks. At first I didn’t know what to do, but people can learn how to grow their own healthy, organic food. I also had a cooking class. Some folks didn’t really cook at home, or had fast food every day. They learned how to prepare healthy foods at home. You are learning how to do it yourself, you are not just being given something.

Q: Why do you enjoy gardening so much?

Barbara: It’s educational, also it’s fun. I enjoy workshops and classes. Being in the garden is a calming effect, and it’s healthy for you. Not just the foods are healthy, but the peace of mind and watching things grow.