TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Mon, March 30

Sharing bounty creates community; Seed Library opens Sept. 12

Everything in the garden seems to get ripe at the same time! Fruit trees are loaded and littering the ground. Bunches of tomatoes all turning red - or brown, yellow or orange - at once, and there's more squash than one can eat. What to do? My mother used to do canning at this time, steaming up an already hot kitchen.

Nowadays, fewer backyard gardeners are preserving the harvest, but are turning to social media to share the bounty. Yesterday, I picked figs after seeing a message on Facebook that a friend's tree was loaded, and all were invited to come pick. This morning we received an email from a neighbor offering ripe tomatoes. Earlier in the season, people were posting to come pick apricots, plums and peaches.

What a great opportunity to share the abundance of the harvest. September's full moon is branded the Harvest Moon, but our cornucopia of homegrown produce will continue until the first frost in early November. I imagine a neighborhood of home gardeners setting their surplus out in front of their houses and offering neighbors to share the bounty.

We've gotten to know neighbors we really hadn't talked to before by sharing our garden bounty. In the neighborhood of my imagination, I see a community "farmers market," where the tables are set up on driveways and under shade trees, and neighbors out for a walk stop and chat, going home with fresh veggies. This is a way to grow community while growing fresh, vine-ripened produce. (Would it be possible that neighbors would even share recipes?)

Another option for sharing the bounty is bringing garden surplus to a food bank or pantry that distributes food for the hungry. I have seen people there welcome the addition of fresh produce to their diet. Bringing a bag of fresh produce from one's garden is a great way to see your garden's abundance not go to waste.

A new opportunity for sharing is the opening of the Verde Valley Seed Library at 11 a.m. on Sept. 12 at the Cottonwood Library. Libraries are all about sharing, sharing our knowledge, cultural heritage, local events, and sharing the bounty of ideas, art and information. Seeds are a lot like books. Heirloom seeds have stories, and their genes connect us to the history of human civilization founded upon agriculture and seed-saving. This new addition to the Cottonwood Library will dispense free seeds from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday and offer free seed-saving classes.

Home, school and community gardens are in the forefront to promote seed and food sharing, strengthen local food and seed security, promote our local biodiversity and celebrate local varieties important to our community's cultural heritage. Gardens for Humanity has resources for helping achieve the goal of sharing our bounty. For more information visit www.gardensforhumanity.org.

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