Kilgore’s Community Garden feeds children and educates volunteers

An entry by Katie LaJeunesse Connette, a volunteer at Kilgore’s Community Garden.  

For the past two years, I’ve looked forward to Wednesday night gardening at Kilgore’s Community Garden. I find myself scheduling around it, disappointed if I have to miss it, and darn cheerful when I go. I’m sure my husband is getting used to me coming home late on Wednesday saying things like, “Guess what?? I picked peas today!”

Katie LaJeunesse Connette says she enjoys the simple, unassuming way she gathers knowledge about gardening when she attends Kilgore's Community Garden work days.

Katie LaJeunesse Connette says she enjoys the simple, unassuming way she gathers knowledge about gardening when she attends Kilgore’s Community Garden work days.

Especially after a day at the computer, the garden draws me in. It is a chance to unplug, be in the present moment, and work with my hands. Spending an hour weeding a patch of land gives me a sense accomplishment. I can see the results of the labor, and I am satisfied that I helped protect those young carrots from being choked out by weeds.

I’ve always liked plants. I was the rare incoming freshman in college who knew she wanted to major in botany. I have worked and volunteered at gardens in the past, each one with it’s unique focus, but I still always feel like I have something to learn at the Kilgore’s Community Garden workdays. In class I learned about how potatoes grow, I could even give you the plant family name and where they originated, but did I really know how to grow potatoes?

There is a simple, unassuming way that us weekly volunteers are soaking in knowledge about growing food. We do some combination of weeding, planting, garden maintenance, and harvesting each week, and little by little we are gaining knowledge. How big should the beans be before you pick them? How much space should be between the scallions? What is an herb spiral?

The food harvested at the garden is donated to an early learning center, and I like to imagine the kids’ excitement (or disgust?) at the fresh local food they are getting. This week we picked peaches. How cool is it that those kids will get fresh, local, organic peaches for a snack? I pulled carrots out of the ground this week, thinking about the little fingers that would be eating them. If only they had been there to see how magical it is to pull carrots out of the ground! I would surely have shown them the carrot that had two roots like a pair of legs. I hope that they grow up liking vegetables as much as I do.


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