Gardening: Sowing Seeds and Cultivating Community


Note from the Editor: June is Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month so we’re kicking off our June Blog with some thoughts from one of our favorite foodies. Enjoy!

Confession: I have a black thumb; my thumb is not literally black of course but when it comes to gardening, black thumb right here. I absolutely love fresh seasonal producethe life a green plant hanging from a macramé plant hanger can bring to a room, cutting fresh flowers to spruce up a table, or snipping fresh herbs to complete a dish. For some reason though, against my better judgment, I kill plants. We start out fast friends and then somewhere along the way laziness kicks in or I don’t do my research about what that plant wants or needs, and things go south.

A few summers ago, my husband and I joined forces with our neighbor to grow a raised bed community garden and have continued the past two summers. I will humbly admit that the fellas do a majority of the work because as I mentioned before…plant killer. I, however, get to reap the rewards of said community garden. There is nothing better than a home-grown tomato taken from the garden, paired with summer peaches, some fresh mozzarella and topped with a few basil leaves. The thought of what is growing right now for my imminent consumption makes me giddy.

I love getting to join with our neighbor to do something that is quite literally fruitful and that creates community. For all intents and purposes, we would not normally spend this kind of time together; he is quite a bit older and is perhaps not always like minded with us, but we get to do life together in such a fundamental way.

Planting, sowing seeds, and reaping harvests are such prevalent themes throughout the Bible. One of my sisters and her family are farmers and constantly sharing how they see Scripture being revealed to them through their harvest, as well as through the weeds that spring up within their crops and choke out what is good unless they are removed.

As I’ve gotten older and have expanded my repertoire in the kitchen, I’ve also become more aware of the beauty and detail of food in its most basic form. My other sister is an artist and is so intentional about seeing the beauty in things. I remember her cutting into a purple cabbage and marveling at our Creator and the beauty He created even in a vegetablethe vibrant color and the natural design you find inside.

While I am not the most skilled gardener, I can definitely see how life giving it can be and the community it can create. I love the Biblical ramifications and am learning to appreciate the beauty.

My hope this summer is to be more intentional with going a step further and sharing meals with our neighbors and others from the bounty we have growing in our sweet little garden. How will you cultivate community? Through a collective garden with your neighbor, or perhaps another waylike pouring into younger moms trying to figure things out or joining other women in one of our Summer Book Clubs? Whatever way you choose, let’s sow some seeds and cultivate community.

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Elizabeth Diefenderfer Fleming is a wife and soon to be first time mom. She is co-owner/baker at Cuppies & Joe, a dessert cafe, with her family. She loves cooking and going on adventures with her husband, Thomas and is unashamedly obsessed with her niece and nephews.