Community Garden & Dudley Farm

Dex & JJThe one thing I have learned the most on this trip was how to effectively make a change in a community. Amizade’s plan, Sustainable Williamson, is about creating a community garden which can be used to teach the locals how to grow crops so that they can eat healthier. This in turn will help to fix the obesity and diabetes issues, which are very serious issues in Williamson, by having the locals eat their naturally grown food instead of fast food or junk foods. The garden is currently in the final stages of being built and some of the locals have already started to plant crops in the raised beds. Once finished, the hope is to teach the people how to grow crops to the point where Amizade, and the other affiliated groups of Sustainable Williamson, won’t have to be there to keep the garden going because the community will take that charge from them. By providing the  resources and then drawing the community into the plan, Sustainable Williamson literally created a self-sustaining system where the community helps itself rather than having others constantly helping. It is these kinds of plans which I love to see in action because I this way the creator of the plan spends less time and energy keeping a single project alive, and more time creating new projects to further help a community in need. If I ever need to do any kind of service again (and I probably will) then I will know that the plan must be to provide the resources, draw the community in need into the plan and then teach them to run the system by themselves.

One of our projects was to assist a local farmer, Farmer Doug, on his farm. When we arrived Farmer Doug showed us around. We got to meet his pig and it’s piglets, the chickens and collected their eggs, the turkey and the 3 cows. After we explored the farm we were put to work in the field. Our job was to create mounds in the soil, in nice even rows, and then plant an assortment of crop seeds. The process to do this was broken down into jobs. first was one person would drag a spade through the soil next to a string which acted as a guide to make a straight line. Next two people will use a hoe to dig up soil to create the mound by using the spade line as a guide to where the mound will be. These two people must be carful not to step on any mounds next to them or they might ruin the crops in them. After those two make the mound one person will draw a line on the peak of the mound, this will be where the seeds go. Lastly a person will sprinkle which ever crop seed they like down the mound and then push a bit of dirt over the seeds to make a cover. Now this sounds easy, and it is, but the amount of time and energy this process takes for one mound is immense and Farmer Doug needed 30+ mounds created and planted. We only managed to create 4 mounds and plant in 2 of them by the time we had to leave and we were all sore and tired just from that, not to mention that Farmer Doug has to do this each growing with his brother and both of them are 68 and 78 years old respectively. Just knowing that these two elderly guys can do such intense work on a daily basis is awe inspiring. After my time working on the farm, Farmer Doug and his brother became my new heroes and have shown me that age means nothing when your working on something you love to do and you give it your all to do it.

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