The Power of Diversity by Katey Rudd, Cultivator
This week I saw something beautiful in the garden.
I have worked with various community gardens for over six years in different states with communities ranging from upper-income churches to homeless communities to refugees from all over the world. I consider the myriad lessons I have learned from each of these groups among my most valuable possessions. The lessons are as diverse as the teachers who rendered them.
This week volunteers and I spent time starting seeds, potting up adolescent plants, breaking up winter ground and turning in cover crops. As we worked side by side I was struck by the richness of our work; by how this new group of people offered yet another lesson in listening, awareness—the beauty of assorted humans coming together to sow love and sweat into a singular labor while laughing and sharing their stories in ways linear work scenarios don’t often afford.
There was a moment I stepped back and watched three different generations interact, teaching and helping each other.
I tend to focus on the importance of diversity and relish difference. For some reason as I observed us, I saw similarity in a more substantive and interconnected way than I ever have. I saw how a community garden is a great equalizer. The garden is not a respecter of race, gender, economic status, religious belief, sexual persuasion, species, etc. It is ecology on a spiritual level: soil, invisible microorganisms, plants, animals, insects, water, humans all working together, consciously or unconsciously, to create life in a symbiotic way. In a sense, the garden is a container that grows what’s put into it. Diversity strengthens ecology tremendously and culminates in a shared “sameness” that creates higher health, potential, and beauty.
This week I could see the “sameness” and simply felt grateful that I get to be part of it.
We welcome volunteers every Tuesday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Come learn, teach, take food home, and grow food for neighbors in need. For more information contact Katey Rudd at firstname.lastname@example.org