I found out as I have been interning at the Bounty Garden that plants are just like humans. We have a lot of the same needs. We need a balance of water, sunlight, nutrients and a healthy environment. When all of these elements are in homeostasis, we thrive. We are able to grow without limits. We are happy and strong and can find a way to resist anything that comes in our way. When one individual is successful, the whole community is successful.
However, when one of these systems is under attack, we have to fight to stay alive. Fending off threats can sometimes make us weak. If the conditions are not fertile for our existence, we may have to clench what we can and pull through the rough spot.
But just like us, plants are resilient. If a seed is abandoned underneath pavement in a vacant lot and determined to live, it will force a hole in the impossibly solid pavement and push through. If the farmer forgets to tend to a plant and it nearly dies, but after a little watering it may yet have the potential to bounce back. Sometimes all we need is for someone to stop and pay attention to our needs and our life can be turned around.
Aside from the Bounty Garden, I am teaching a Teen Garden class at Advocates foster care agency. I have planted and maintained a garden with the young adults who have been in the foster care system. These youth have been born into a life of unfertile soil with little choice in their own lives. They are struggling to succeed in this rocky environment. They just need someone to care for them and to be a steady figure they can trust. Quite frankly, some of them may not ever have someone who is going to help them grow out of the foster care system. They may be forced to struggle to survive on their own with little resources. They will have to force a hole through the concrete like the plants to succeed.
My supervisor explained to me how successful plants are when they are planted on rich, nutritious and balanced soil. The plants keep off the pests and are not as prone to disease. I imagine what our world could be like if we all made each other’s lives rich like this soil, how much more beautiful our lives could be. We all need to stop and look at our brother, sister or stranger in the eyes and listen to their story, smile at them, or randomly do something to help them just for the sheer joy of it. Imagine the potential our community has to thrive all together.
2018 Bounty Garden Intern- Clarissa Skaleski