Get to Know Autumn – Thoughts on Gardening in Community

Barker & Christol's Autumn Shultz talks about the things she learned from gardening with family and in community.

I learned gardening expresses love, feeds your family, teaches patience, encourages curiosity and wins children over to eating veggies at an early age. My great grandparents grew everything from rhubarb and cherry tomatoes to blueberries and a grape vine in their yard in Burlington, Mass. My great grandfather cross-bred irises and planted the whole fence line with every color he could muster – just because Gramma liked them. My mother also had great successes (and one outrageous failure involving some very old preserves) growing food in our little yard gardens. So, when my little family settled here in Murfreesboro, Tenn. in 2007, we started experimenting to see what we could grow in pots on our patio.

My daughter, husband and I spent lots of time outside planting whatever we could get our hands on. The first year was a wild success. We couldn’t get enough dirt or pots. We were hooked! I started to wonder why everyone wasn’t outside growing food everywhere. I created a Facebook page for people interested in starting a community garden here in the ‘Boro.

There has been tons of interest in my community garden project as I have explored possible locations. And then, this year, I was contacted through my Facebook page and asked to teach container gardening to some great kids living in the Franklin Heights Community. There are so many benefits they will learn as we all gardening together – building community, crime prevention, cultural and generational sharing opportunities, healthier eating, exercise, fresh air, sunshine and beautiful green spaces to enjoy.

Anyone can start a garden with family, friends, neighbors or other gardeners with the same goal, building community and sharing the love of growing things. So, keep your eyes open for some dirt and join the green thumb movement – you won’t regret it!