As a business owner and writer I find myself constantly looking for like-minded people and groups. In doing so, my good friend Tommy Alderman from Alderman Farms introduced me to the Gaining Ground, Sustainability Institute of Mississippi. Some time went by when I was contacted by a local faithful website follower, and now friend, JoAnne, who informed me that the state-wide organization has a local chapter, Go Green, Meridian.
I attended a meeting and decided to become a member. I quickly learned that the group, as a part of their sustainability education efforts, was planning a community garden. It was very much in the planning stages, as a piece of land had not even been found, though many ideas were being offered.
Month by month we, the members of Go Green, Meridian, met and discussed what was being done, what was next, and if we really knew what we were doing! Rest assured, we have several members that are horticulturists, experienced gardeners, homesteaders, and the like. However, when you start doing something huge, and very much in the public eye, it is easy to question yourself.
The groups’ stated mission is: “To increase awareness, connect the community, support our local farmers and businesses, and create a more sustainable and healthy life for the people of Meridian and surrounding areas.” Ambitious? Perhaps. Attainable? Absolutely!
A Community Garden was chosen to be the starting point for these efforts. And what a great idea it is!
The garden provides and excellent tool on all levels. It provides experienced farmers/growers with a place to help pass down their knowledge and skills. In turn, it provides the novice a place to learn and experience gardening before investing in the effort at their own home.
As a community garden, it clearly connects the community together, as everyone can help and no help will be turned away. And, while it is bringing people from across the local area to one place, the big dream is to have more gardens spread across the city so that each garden can really become a focus for the local neighborhood.
While it is true that the term sustainability encompasses much, much more than growing food, a community garden is a great starting point. Friendships are being formed. Common goals are being realized. A sense of togetherness and a positive mood grows with each new milestone.
These form a foundation which will support the greater efforts that are sure to come. After all, Go Green, Meridian is only 6 months old!