Gardening is good!
Gardens connect people and places, plants and pollinators. So ‘Love your place’, wherever and whatever it may be, says A Rocha USA. The Nashville team offers educational Pollinator Garden Parties where people can learn how to recognize visitors to the garden and buy garden kits full of plants that pollinators love.
A Rocha Canada’s Farm to Families programme welcomes under-served children, families and seniors to Brooksdale Environmental Centre for time and training in the garden. Alongside enjoying the obvious fruits (and vegetables) of their labours, the relationships built while working together have a positive effect on loneliness and connect people with themselves, each other and, in some cases, their new country.
A Rocha UK has seen similar patterns among those involved in transforming Wolf Fields (an urban wasteland in West London) into allotments, a community orchard and a sensory garden, along with beehives and a pond. Nest boxes and a bird feeding station have also had a noticeable impact on the site’s species diversity. A Rocha Lebanon’s community gardens in Qab Elias and Mekse, villages near the Syrian border, are similarly new green places for species to thrive, and can offer food and work for the people involved, particularly for refugees.
‘If done intentionally, gardening can become an experiential bridge not only between us and the Creator, but also between those for whom growing food is a romantic hobby and those for whom it is a grinding way of life,’ says Leah Kostamo, Spiritual Care Coordinator at A Rocha Canada. This is a daily reality for many in Uganda who live in areas prone to flooding or with limited outdoor space. A Rocha Uganda’s school environment clubs get children growing food in sacks, tins and old car tyres. Fresh food on the table along with selling any surplus as income – gardening is good!
Images: Bee on thistle at Minet (A Rocha UK); Farm to Families (A Rocha Canada);Sack gardening at Kungu Church of Uganda School (A Rocha Uganda)