Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sowing the seeds of service

Type: Gardening
Age: 2 and up

Thinking back on the first service project I tackled as a new mom, I can't help but smile. It was the summer that my oldest daughter Schuler was 2, and I got the idea that working in our church's community garden would be the perfect opportunity for us. Idealistic for sure, but I figured, how much trouble could she get into playing outside in the dirt?

Before we left I explained to Schuler that we would be going to a garden to help grow food to give to others. This community garden worked with local food banks to provide fresh produce - a hot commodity for food banks! She was confused why people would need food, but I tried to explain that not everyone was able to just open their fridge and get food to eat. By giving our time in the garden, we would be helping to make sure that there would be lots of food to give to others.

Work clothes and crocs on, we made our way across a grassy field to an enormous garden. And boy was it picturesque! The late afternoon sun was high and hot in the sky, a dozen other volunteers danced around the garden pulling weeds - engrossed in their work. A peaceful quiet settled over the group. That is until a chatty 2 year old decided to get involved!

The woman organizing the volunteers was full of energy and happy to see us. We quickly got to work pulling weeds, and despite a few looks wondering how much a 2 year old could accomplish, I managed to pull lots of weeds, and Schuler managed to make one large pile out of them!

We stayed about an hour and then treated ourselves to popsicles afterward. It was a great start to building a foundation of serving! It's not difficult to see how you might be able to adapt this idea to meet the needs of your family. Even in the city, gardens and 'urban farms' are everywhere. This particular project is great because there is no beginning or end - there is always work to do in a garden. When your little one tires out, you can just finish up for the day. So grab your gardening gloves and your toddlers and get gardening!


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