On Thursday, August 9th 2012, there was a celebration in Lexington despite the storms and hail. In the basement of Embrace church on North Limestone, the friends and families of the 18 graduates of our SEEDS program gathered to celebrate the hard work of these young folks over the course of this drought-saddled summer, and the completion of their time in this program for 2012. We celebrated their work as well as the work of the folks who facilitated program including Seedleaf Super Volunteer Bethany Pratt; we told stories, discussed what the graduates would do with their hard-earned money, and of course we ate (the graduates had prepared radish dip as well as bruschetta from the tomatoes and basil they’d been taking care of).
Naturally, this is a bittersweet moment for all of us at Seedleaf. On the one hand, we are very proud of these young gardeners, but, at the same time, we will miss our weekly time together. As these young people begin to turn back toward the school year, we turn toward harvest season and reflect on growth and the fruits of labor.
In that spirit, we want you to know that if you want to see growth, if you want to see the fruits of labor—stop by the North Pole Community Garden at the intersection of North Limestone and Burnett Avenue. There you will find the garden the SEEDS graduates tended this summer. In the face of daunting conditions from drought to viciously aggressive Bermuda grass, these young people kept this garden producing food for the community.
I can tell you what you’ll find: countless ripening cherry tomatoes, green peppers in abundance, and more green beans than you can shake a stick at. As for everything else, you’ll simply have to imagine it: the hours of laughter, learning, and friend-making that happened in that space this summer; the inspiring endurance of the SEEDS participants through the drought; the looks on two dozen young faces biting into ripe cherry tomatoes. These are the memories that we get to export from the garden and carry with us as we make our ways in the world; these are the things we look forward to experiencing again next year.
But hey, if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll catch one of our SEEDS graduates checking up on their work. If you do, and if you missed the graduation, we hope you’ll join us in congratulating them for being bright lights in the community. These young people have worked together to make a lot of healthy, chemical-free food available for people in their own communities—no small feat in a summer like this one. We couldn’t be prouder, and we know Lexington will continue to empower these young people to be engaged with their food and community.