One of the biggest surprises that accompanied my becoming a mom was realizing just how much I care about what my little one eats. I have no problem admitting that I am “that” mom who cringes when I see that the sweet nursery workers at church have given my daughter an animal cracker (albeit organic). I am “that” mom who chose baby led weaning instead of pouches and purees. And, I am “that” mom who has decided that I need to grow my own food.
That’s right, mamas: I’m basically a farmer.
You see, there is this amazing non-profit community garden at the end of my street called “Bit of Earth”. It’s full of raised beds that are tended by its tenants, and community beds that contain crops simply plopped directly into the ground for garden volunteers to sow. It was built pretty much in sync with Piper gaining the ability to eat solid foods, so I took it as a sign that I needed to claim a plot and learn to live off the land.
I’m happy to report that not only do I cook using ingredients from our garden most days, but visiting the garden has also become one of our favorite activities each week.
From the get-go, I have done my best to include my toddler (18-months-old now) in the gardening process. She helps me weed–and prune–and harvest. She knows that the “gar-gar” is a special place that we visit several times a week. We go there to have fun, to play in the dirt, to pick flowers, and play with the “oww-uhl” who hangs out around the beds.
And, let me tell you, it has been such a fulfilling experience to learn together and see the actual fruits of our labor.
The best part, however, is that beyond the fulfillment my little family gets, this garden truly is a gift to our community. Bit of Earth Community Garden was started to fill a need, and thereby be a blessing to those who till the soil. There is a lot of work that goes into keeping a garden growing, so the hands that work are the the same hands that reap the harvest.
Each bed can be “leased” for a certain amount each year based on your household income, and even if you’re unable to contribute financially, volunteering to weed, prune, and water affords you an equal share in the harvest. And because Bit of Earth is a non-profit, they’re always happy to have more helping hands to keep the bounty bountiful!
If you live in the Franklin area, we (I’m speaking on behalf of all of us gardeners) would love to have you stop by! Come see what we’re planting, lend a hand as we work the earth, and leave with a bunch of fresh herbs for tonight’s dinner. (Pretty good deal, right?!) And, if you don’t live in the Franklin area, but can contribute financially, we’d love that too! We’re currently working to raise enough funds to build 20 more raised beds (several of which will be specially built for the elderly and handicapped to ensure they’re able to garden too!) for next Spring’s planting season. So, truly, any bit helps.
I’ll leave you with some photos that will speak to the blessing this garden has been for themselves. There’s Piper helping her mama, fresh veggies turned into dinner, newly planted plots, and Piper helping her own self. It doesn’t get much better than that, if you ask me! ;)
Bit of Earth Community Garden is located at:
200 Everbright Ave, Franklin, TN 37064 from sunrise to sunset. The garden is always open for visitors, so come on in!
What are some of your favorite plants, veggies, succulents to grow? We’d always love to learn more!