I was inspired to post this after working on the farm the past couple Saturdays with a 15-year old boy named Kymani from Brooklyn. Actually, if he was here with me as I write this, he would stop me and say “man, me not from Brooklyn!” Kymani is from Jamaica, and proud of it.
While pulling weeds under the autumn sun, I listen to Kymani tell me about his days back in Jamaica as a boy. He says his life was full of anger and violence, and he’s working on that now. He tells me he used to be involved in “machete gangs” with his brother, where they would “chop people up”. He says his brothers are still involved with the violence and keep getting in trouble. All the while, I am thinking to myself I’m glad he’s here with me working in the garden instead of out getting mixed up in any of that.
I hope Kymani continues to work at the farm next year –he is considering not to–and I hope it can be as healing and transformative for him as I know it has the power to be.
Gardens grow more than food…
Gardens grow the soul. Healing, calming, awakening, and giving therapy and quiet to your mind through weeding, raking, digging, planting and caring for other living things is powerful. Seeing your work grow and fruit just does something to the soul.
Gardens grow the mind. Learning about nature, science and how the Earth creates and recreates life and depends on itself to survive is an enlightening experience. It’s amazing what nature is capable of and it’s important to be reminded of that.
Gardens grow awareness. Growing your own food makes you think about where it comes from and what’s needed to grow it. It opens your mind to all the things we depend on each day that come from a farm of some sort: tea, medicines, clothing, etc.
Gardens grow relationships. Working side by side with others provides a great opportunity to get to know people you may not have otherwise met. Laughing, sharing in accomplishments and learning teamwork is a beautiful thing.
Gardens grow roots. Having a piece of land to tend to gives you a sense of home. It gives you a place that you feel is yours and a connectivity to the land, your ancestors and your community.
The food grown in a garden is just the bonus.
I hope the garden in Brooklyn helps Kymani grow, I think it already has.