Such great news, y’all! This week marks one year of operation as a community compost collection site! We have had two cycles of compost from start to finish used in our garden. Our bin that is curing is probably 2 weeks away from being finished and we have active participation in the program. We’re thrilled!
Today I met with 6 different people while planting native plants and fruit trees in the garden. One visitor dropped off seeds for our seed library and another offered to volunteer. Everyone was delighted with the new garden beds. Check it out!
The NOLA Artist Incubator has been hard at work and the Galvez Garden now has seven new garden beds devoted to growing vegetables for the community. Each bed has been filled with compost we produced on site by diverting food waste from landfills.
Just look how pretty that soil is with our compost amendments!
As is the way with all things cyclical, the seasons are changing and so is the capacity at the garden. We are officially only putting in plants that feed the people, add native diversity to the landscape, and attract pollinators and wildlife habitats. The garden has been filled with enough native species to officially be recognized as a native plant sanctuary. The new garden beds are devoted exclusively for growing vegetables to address food insecurity in the community of St. Roch. Our bioswales and rain garden are established and working, making the design a demonstration stormwater management site. On this little piece of city owned land, we have built the infrastructure to feed countless members of our community, and we’ve transformed the space to a be welcoming and purposeful pocket park in the middle of the city. Not to mention, for the past year my family and I have offered a free public service by collecting food scraps and composting them to do our part in helping the environment and sharing our space.
It’s kinda mind blowing. We didn’t have to do any of this, but we got really into it, and I’m blown away at the results of our labor. And now that we’ve come so far, there is much more work to be done. In total, the Galvez Garden will have 10 garden beds that will require our attention to be maintained. That’s not nothing. It is our hope that with all that we’ve created, volunteers will come to be a part of planting and harvesting. But to date, it’s all been done by us, tinkering away, working with our own hands and a desire to make something bigger than ourselves.
My husband pointed out something to me the other day that I can’t seem to shake. He referred to all the work that we do in the garden as community service. I’d never really thought of it like that. I just viewed it as an ongoing project, that kept me occupied while navigating the isolation of the pandemic. Well, times have changed. My family got Covid and are no longer scared of going in public and social distancing is no longer a thing in our community. Now we could host garden parties if we wanted. That’s a very exciting proposition! Yet, we’re not hosting parties, we’re just creating more work for us, in hopes of having a deeper impact on the community. When I think about our work at the garden as an act of service, it makes me very proud of how my family has decided to spend the last two years.
All this is to say, we love our little garden and are so excited to see how it’s grown to be so much more than I ever could have imagined. We love meeting other gardeners and chatting with people as they drop off compost and we dream up new dreams for how to make the garden greater. Currently we’re conjuring visions of drip irrigation, a wild new tangible addition to the garden that we’re looking forward to learning more about. I’m floored.
While we intend to continue to provide composting services to the community, we are definitely entering into a new phase, on another level. As such. This will be my last entry in THE Com POST. It’s been a fun writing exercise (sometimes there’s not a lot to write about composting… some posts were easier than others), and I’ve enjoyed my weekly ritual of informing an unknown public of our adventures in the process. But frankly, I think I’ve got my hands pretty full right now, so in prioritizing I must admit my time will be better spent putting my hands to work in new garden beds than this silly blog.
In closing, I encourage everyone to embrace composting, gardening, and dreaming. With hard work, dreams can not only come true, but they can surprise you. Over this last year of composting and gardening I’ve obtained my Louisiana Master Gardener Certification, a Permaculture Design Certification, and (if I may say so) a truly remarkable and inspiring community garden in my neighborhood. I always hoped it would add to the community, I never imagined how much it really would. For as much as this garden has added to my life, I’m so grateful to share that it’s going to benefit countless others beyond me and my family. That’s as pretty an ending to a story as I could have ever hoped for, so…
Happy composting, y’all!
Lissie & the I Dig It Team
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