Cultivating plants and confidence.

I grew up in a garden, playing in the dirt as my grandfather planted rows of peas or a patch of carrots. My backyard transformed into a gourmet kitchen and mud pies were my specialty. I became an artist and the plants and flowers my medium. I imagined the trees and critters to be a wild jungle and I the daring explorer. But I grew up, my family moved, I spent less time in the garden.

Fast forward several years and now I’m in college where I spend even less time outdoors — until — I found myself volunteering at Veggielution and applying for an internship in the Youth Garden. I hadn’t even known that I missed pulling weeds.

As my internship comes to a close, I reflect on what I have personally gained by working in the Youth Garden. First, I gained confidence: having knowledge of each plant in the garden, how to care for it, where does it come from, where does it belong, and transmitting that knowledge to our volunteers. I found this to be an empowering experience. This cultivated my sense of responsibility and pride in the garden, and in what a group of people can achieve together in just a few hours.

Standing back and admiring our work at the end of a work day is gratifying for both the volunteer and myself. The labor of tending the garden is a joyful task whether you work alone or in community. Gardening in general has contributed to my sense of wellbeing. Veggielution, with its emphasis on community and its peaceful atmosphere, has become a space where I can press pause on my worries and enjoy the beauty of nature and the moment, at least for a few hours.

-Laura Perez, Spring 2016 Education Intern

Come join us at the farm for our weekly Youth Garden Activities. Every Saturday the whole family can enjoy gardening, crafting, and learning together in the Youth Garden.

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