Finding My Green Thumb & Much More

I've been spending a lot of time at my community farm, where I have a garden plot of my own veggies and help out with harvesting. Last weekend I was feeling all kinds of crazy, and lead a sunflower drawing class to the local Brownie troop. My experience with kids is minimal at most, but I guess it's good practice or something. These are things I feel like I'm supposed to say at nearly 28.


Being a part of this community has taught me so many things. I joined it to learn more about gardening and agriculture, something I'm passionate about when I eat food but not something I had exposure to growing up in an NYC suburb.


First, I've totally learned a lot about growing plants. In fact, I think it's safe to say I'm now one of those weird plant ladies – sort of like a cat lady but way less creepy. I've always kept a couple succulents around whatever apartment I was living in, but that was the extent of my green thumb (or lack thereof). One time in college a boyfriend gave me an orchid and I'm fairly certain it was dead within a month. Now, I feel comfortable with all kinds of plants at home, and I always have fresh herbs on the counter, usually alongside a couple bowls of pickings like tomatoes or radishes.


Since it looks like I'm making a list now, here's number two: this experience has taught me that new friends come in so many shapes and sizes. And by that I mean ages. Some of the best people I have met since moving to this city are people from the farm... who are also grandparents. They have welcomed me, educated me, met me for coffee dates, and shown me support in all my personal endeavors.


Another takeaway is that picking things out of the soil is a meditation. Both steady acts of one-pointed focus that protect me from my mind. In the garden, each tug is like a breath of life – a small part of a larger whole that sustains me. When I arrive at the field to help with harvesting, I never know what the result will be. Sort of like when I arrive to the practice of meditation. I just accept what the earth chooses to provide, like sitting down and closing my eyes to let in whatever stillness comes. Our labor pails in comparison to the labor of this growth, and for that reason it's all left up to something much greater, and less fathomable, than our earthling existence.

Martel Catalano