One may never notice, when walking down 24th and 17th ave. in South Minneapolis, the abundant community garden oasis that sits in the middle of this block. A group of us solutionaries have been working over the past couple weeks at the permaculture garden with Lynn Mayo, a passionate woman full of agriculture wisdom who initiated the gardens in 1990’s. Much of what I have learned working at the permaculture gardens, has been through experiences and tasks, like shoveling soil for a green house, planting morning glories, harvesting garlic, or learning the proper technique for rolling up a garden hose.
On Tuesday, Maddie and I were weeding in the 17th ave. garden, to prepare a plot for planting. There are times when we are kneeling in dirt, with our hands in soil, and the sun on our back, that I forget that we are in a city. This is a wonderful sensation, but on Tuesday when I dug my hand in for weeds, I found yellow plastic. I pulled the object out of the dirt and brushed off the soil to find that this was a yellow razor. I don’t think it is all too common to find yellow plastic razors in the soil on farms out in the country; nor is it probably common to find candy wrappers, sharpie pens, toothbrush, glass shards, and other various trash that we find while gardening on the block. So, it turns you can find a lot more than plants in a garden. I do have to emphasize though, that the joy and fulfillment I have gained from working in Lynn’s garden, far outweighs finding a bit of trash sometimes.
We continued to weed in the garden, and as Maddie dug into the soil, she came across a deep and plump root. If one has weeded before, they know that rich satisfaction one gets from ripping out a full weed, from stem to the tip of the root. Maddie is familiar with this too, and as she dug, she could not find the tip of this root. When working in this city garden, one seeks to dig up as much substance and knowledge as we can. In Maddie’s case, she was seeking the satisfaction of getting that root out of the soil. After tugging out 5 feet of the root, about equal to Maddie’s height, Lynn walked by and Maddie asked about what she could do about this. Lynn said, “that’s the root of a tree, leave it”.
Keep digging, and we may find that these roots run deep. Keep digging in these gardens, and we may find the roots of an entire tree. Well, that wasn’t quite the weed we expected to pull, but we are students, and we are digging, and learning, as we garden away.
Twin Cities SOS 2012