Webster defines the word "community" as: a unified body of individuals.
In our mobile modern society, we may feel at times like the world is our community. We can know what is happening half way around the world in an instant, communicate instantaneously with someone on another continent and travel around the globe in a matter of hours. With this nearly immediate response time it can feel like we are part of a great big whole.
We are, but the place we have the most impact is right here in our own little community. In reality, it is the handshake, the neighborly wave, the knock on the door and the loaned egg or two that creates the unity we crave.
Back in the 18th and 19th centuries when food for the community came from the immediate area, farmers were vital. They still are, but when most of our food is shipped or trucked in, we lose the connection to the farmer. One of the most important components for a farm was a barn. These were expensive and required more man power than a typical family could supply, so "barn raising" events were common. When a farmer needed a new barn, the community came together and in a few days, it was done. Labor was free. Eventually the favor would be repaid as each farmer in turn would get his/her barn built by fellow farmers. What an amazing concept!
As we have put our greenhouse together piece by piece, I understood how truly vital that old practice was. The efforts of 10 individuals working together on one project 10 different days would accomplish exponentially more than each working solo on their own project for the same number of hours. We get more done when we work as a team.
The Community Garden is a very small project but one that incorporates aspects of a barn raising. Businesses and individuals donated funds, groups came together to build it and the produce is destined for the homes that need it. The ongoing maintenance belongs to the community. Families, groups, individuals that want to help are welcome. I could do it myself, but then it wouldn't be a community project any more. When individuals join together to accomplish something for the common good, it changes them. May you find yourself at the garden one day soon lending a hand or two.
Editor's note: Mechel Wall is owner and operator of both The Cottage Flower Shop and Wallflower Farm. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.Editorial on 07/04/2018
Print Headline: Unity in community is good