growing food, growing community

“Sure, i’ll remind Jennifer about reimbursing you for that compost.  Yeah, she’s a bit swamped right now, doing lots of support for Jeannie* (*name changed) and her family.  Remember her from our first garden work party?   Jeanie’s been in the hospital and her husband works full time, so Jennifer has been doing lots of kid care, cooking, and hospital visits.   I’ll give her a ring this week.”

“Ok, great.  I think I remember Jennifer.  Oh, and can you let her know that I’d like to help support Jeannie and her family?”

Moving to Charlottesville and propagating the urban evolution has been a process of putting theory into practice.  One piece has threaded throughout the lessons of Twin Oaks life and come up repeatedly in conversations with radical community activists from Portland to Barcelona.  This is the importance of building a community-based welfare and safety net by strengthening relationships  between people.  That is to say, the process of building interdependent, trusting relationships between people is just as important as the particular project you are tackling.  Once the net of inter-dependency has been created, it can flexibly respond to the particular needs that may arise within a given community, whatever they may be.

Wendy expressed a desire to support Jeanie’s family.  They live in the same neighborhood and had just met a month prior at our kick-off garden work party.  The conversation continued a week or so later, when Jennifer brought Jeannie’s kids over to the next garden work party.  Wendy and Jennifer chatted about ways to be supportive, given Wendy’s work and time constraints.  Cooking food was a big one, and Wendy offered to to cook up a pot of food for them to freeze and eat during the week.  Then baby Maya (8 months old) woke up from her nap, and Wendy melted into a ball of mothering sweetness.  While we ate supper, Wendy soothed Maya inside the house and then changed her diaper.  Maya refused to be passed off and remind content in Wendy’s arms as she fed her bits of banana and gave her little kisses.

In addition to the unspeakable cuteness, I had a rush of “This is what they were talking about!”  The loose home garden-support structure had helped create a new thread in the web of community.

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~ by karmakas on April 13, 2009.

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