Today brings a new gardener spotlight in our “pollinator effect” series.
Last week, we introduced you to Susana, a community gardener utilizing her garden plot not only to feed herself and her family, but dozens of people facing cancer. This week, meet Robert Patton, manager of the FLOW community garden in Lucerne.
Rob became involved with the FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) garden seven years ago. Rising water prices implemented by Cal Water spurred on community organizers to take control of their resources. The FLOW community garden was born out of their organizing efforts and remains part of their legacy.
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Over the last couple of weeks, you’ve met some of the folks in the Gardens Project network whose work has ‘the Pollinator Effect’. This week, meet a busy bee who sows health and wellbeing next to her tomatoes and chiles in the garden.
Susana Aguilar has been the manager of the Washington Street Community Garden in Ukiah since it opened its gates over seven years ago. “One thing that is very important to me is to come to the garden and stay busy here,” she says. Susana can often be found weeding pathways, caring for the community herb garden, fixing the compost, or attending to the miscellaneous garden tasks that always seem to spring up. “I don’t just do my plot,” she says, “wherever I see it has something to be done, I do it.”
Susana’s dedication is part of what makes her a good manager, but she also brings exceptional generosity and a lifetime of learning to the community garden. “My father used to plant corn and beans on the mountains,” Susana remembers, “I used to go with my father and help him, pulling weeds from the garden.” After moving to the United States from Mexico, Susana worked on a crew with her husband in the vineyards. Now, she brings her years of knowledge to the community garden. “I just want people to learn from my skills,” says Susana. "I don’t want to tell people what to do… I just want to teach them, share whatever I can do, and if people want to try what I know, they can.”
Throughout the month of November, we will be showing gratitude to people in our community whose work has what we like to call the "Pollinator Effect". Just like pollinators are a small but mighty part of the life cycle and keep things growing, these people are part of a cycle that’s much bigger than themselves. Their impact grows exponentially as it influences friends and family, shapes the minds of youth, creates resiliency and much more.
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