I, for one, love a good visit! Visits are a time for chatting with your neighbours, catching up with old friends, and meeting new and interesting people. And, it just so happens that a visit is exactly what we had up at the Bethany Garden a couple of Saturdays ago when our mentors, Jen and David, made the trek up from the Annapolis Valley to help us put on a market gardening workshop.
You might be thinking: “Hey now, an event with the word work spelled right into it sure doesn’t sound like a nice visit”. But, I assure you, in my eyes, it really did constitute a visit in its truest form. Honest to God, all of us who gathered that day seemed to not only learn tips, tricks, and technicalities from each other, but we also seemed to strengthen old, and build new relationships with each other.
While David did an outstanding job of taking the lead on explaining many of the technologies and strategies that us market gardeners use to aid us in our daily work, Jen, Werner, Wyanne, Mathieu, and myself chimed in when there was something to add, chatted with our new friends, and took the curious on little excursions to many corners of our garden.
It seemed as though everyone who attended our workshop – participants, mentors, leaders, apprentices, etc. – had both wisdom to share and minds eager to learn new things. We mainly learned about the BCS walking tractor and its various implements, the Jang seeder, flame-weeding, and preparing a permanent raised bed system. However, there were many questions, conversations, and side-notes about innumerable aspects of market gardening. We talked about, greenhouses, irrigation, soil quality, planning, and timelines. But, most importantly (in my opinion) was the underlying current in our conversations that flowed towards the overarching importance of growing good quality food in our own backyards and the people and communities which are nourished by that food.
When I look back at the visits of my childhood to the porches and kitchens and living rooms of humble homesteads in Nova Scotia, I remember talk of family and neighbours and politics and religion. At the time, there didn’t seem to be a theme to it all, but now I look back at those visits and I see people talking about hard work and change. And, today I look back at our workshop and I see people talking about hard work and change. That’s why I think our workshop was more a visit than anything. In fact, I think it just about embodied what a visit should be – regular people talking about working hard, little by little, to eventually create great change and those dedicated people building relationships all along the way.