Grow Community, Grow Gardens

Blog written by Susan Finlayson, WCG Community Gardens Program Director
Photos courtesy of Mark Hooyer
Sunset“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.” -Dorothy Day

I am reading a book by Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness, for a book club that I participate in.  What I have learned so far is that Dorothy Day was an activist in the early 20th century.  The daughter of a journalist, she went to school in Chicago, cut her teeth with bohemian radicals in New York City in the roaring 20s, dabbled in nursing, and eventually found her calling as founder and publisher of The Catholic Worker.

For a famous activist, she had a surprising humility about her life. She questioned her worthiness often. Much of her book chronicles the vicissitudes of life of a middle-class women in the early 20th century. There was a lot of laundry and babysitting.

But, despite all this, Dorothy Day became the woman that history knows, because of the inexorable draw that she felt (and heeded) to simply be of service, and to be engaged in community.

Community gardens are some of those places that speak to the community urge in us. We want to connect, to be of service, to make the world a little better.  We don’t have to be flashy about it, necessarily, because we know the value of it.

Growing a community garden is a simple, “radical” act.  It literally begins with a radical (a baby root) growing into the ground, and spreads from there.

unnamed2Growing Community Gardens is not just about planting seeds and harvesting vegetables. It is about connecting with neighbors, a sense of place, and yes, the radical inside you.

In her time, Dorothy Day wouldn’t have appeared to be the kind of person who changes the world. She spent a lot of time knitting, taking care of children, and just living each quiet day.  I like to think that she had a gardener sort of personality.

But she answered the call out of “the long loneliness.” She sought connection, and brought what she had to offer to the table.  And that was enough.

Wasatch Community Garden’s annual Growing Community Gardens workshop series is coming up. If you have felt the call to start a community garden, this is the workshop series for you!  The series kicks off with a How to Start a Community Garden session on January 6th that is open to all.  To participate in the following 5 sessions, apply through the link below by December 1, 2015:


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