Monday, June 13th marked Team B’s first work day of the session two internship program! The Connecticut River Academy is an early-college high school in East Hartford, Connecticut, that has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and leadership. During session two, Team B will be nurturing and expanding their community gardens, every Monday and Thursday.
Today, we had two main goals: water all the vegetation and re-plot the pumpkin patch. Pumpkins have a large root system and need a good a
mount of space for their roots to grow. The current pumpkin patch had several seeds growing, but they were bundled together, causing their root systems to compete for nutrients. While digging up the pumpkins, we were fascinated by the pumpkin seeds we found, connected to the plant’s root system and its stem. It was beautiful to see those familiar looking pumpkin seeds, broken open by that initial sprout. It is a reminder that nature consistently creates life, which can be easily forgotten about.
In the wake of tragedies within our own communities, such as in Orlando, witnessing life grow from something so small is inspiring. It’s a reminder that life (and humanity) is more complex than what it seems to be on the surface. Like the pumpkin, everyone needs a space of their own, in order to thrive and flourish. Unfortunately, a place of safety was taken away from the Latinx and LGBTQ community, and we would like to send our deepest sympathies and love to those who lost their lives and lost their loved ones. We stand with you.
Although we cannot easily re-plot humanity, this pumpkin seed can be re-located. It may seem like a small act, but it is a kindness we can pay forward. After carefully removing each plant, we gave each one enough space for it’s roots to grow.
Once we finished re-plotting the pumpkin seeds, we removed weeds and watered the school’s raised beds. They are growing a variety of different fruits and veggies including: strawberries, apples, hot peppers, basil, chives, tomatoes and more! Our team member, Chloe, showed us the chocolate-basil that is growing in it’s own raised bed. It has a really strong flavor (loved by some, hated by others) and it seems to be growing really well. The food that is grown from these gardens is distributed to a local church, the animals in their habitat room and their school’s staff and students.
We can’t wait to do more work in the gardens at Connecticut River Academy. And in remembrance of the victims of the tragic shooting in Orlando, it helps to reflect on how we can create communities of compassion, instead of ones of oppressive isolation. Our actions and outlooks make a large impact, no matter how small it may seem. You can make a difference.
“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”