Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Guest post by a progressive with skin in the game

Expanding the garden back in 2009.  First, burn off the brush.
Try to not burn down the house.
This has been our 10th year with the garden. 

Bust up the clods, pull the stumps.
We had 46 families this year. 

Planting onions
Every year many local greenhouses contribute excess plants to the garden.
Planting tomatoes
Most of these folks work jobs that many Americans would never consider working; even though they were teachers, nurses, and other professionals in their home countries. Their kids work hard in school and they want to be American! They study hard for their citizenship and frequently know more about America than many who are born and raised here. They are law abiding and very patriotic. 

Fun for the whole family!
One nice thing about gardening is that you can look behind you and see progress.
These folks know what it means to have little or no freedom! Religious freedom is very important to them. They actively live their Christian faith and truly feel God has blessed each of them in there life journeys. 
It is 10:30 AM on Saturday.  Do you know where YOUR teenager is?

ERJ note:  Many of these refugees were pushed out by Boko Haram at the Moslem-Christian skirmish line and by rebels attempting to overthrow the government.
Canning lessons with the first of the tomato crop.

Lessons in making pickles.
Quality control is a very, very important job.  (Busted!)

My husband and I like helping these gardeners help themselves. It would definitely be easier and cheaper for us to just write a check to an agency that gives handouts, but our community garden allows folks to be active in their own success. It's not necessarily Lutheran teaching, but my mom always told us kids, "God helps those who help themselves!" 

Harvest party.  The younger contingent.
The mature contingent.
The can't stop moving contingent.
One's dignity is strengthened when one actively participates in creating the life one aspires to achieve.  We offer Americans born here free garden spots too, but if and when they do garden with us, they do not stick with it until harvest. Most just say they "can't" garden or don't have "time". We figure most Americans do not really know what it means to be hungry. Or, they think if they are hungry, it's someone else's responsibility to make sure they are fed. The gardeners that garden with us usually work two or three minimum wage jobs and still find time to garden!  
Main season canning.  The time for "lessons" is past.  This is about production.
From the winter garden

Most of our gardeners only receive assistance for their first 6 months after arriving in America. They are required to become self sufficient after six months plus they must pay back the price of the airfare that brought them and their family to this country over the next couple years.
My husband and I really admire their strength and fortitude in their efforts to be "good" Americans! The vetting process serves to bring over refugees likely to succeed, not cost the US more money. They are working and paying taxes shortly after arrival in the States. They also share generously what little they have with their church and community.

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