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The Gift of Growth – Episode 1: What That Means To Me and What It Can Mean For You

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The Gift of Growth – Episode 1: What That Means To Me and What It Can Mean For You

By Sustainability Interns | April 17, 2015

This quarter I am graduating, so naturally I’ve been reflecting on my time here at UCR and that in the community garden. It is Spring of 2015 and I have been working in the garden almost on a daily basis for a year now. Last year was the first time I started volunteering in the garden and it was a completely different space than what you can see today.

Before I graduate, I would like to leave a little piece of history, what I have experienced at UCR, to share my story of growth in the garden personally and literally. I want to leave behind the lessons that I have learned, the lessons that have made me who I am today.

At the beginning, I was drawn to it for myself, I needed a positive place to escape and heal; I also needed it for food. But as I realized that my work was also helping other people, it became so much more than just this 3 acre piece of land that I was volunteering on. It became a piece of home and belonging for me that I cultivated and still cultivate through every action and interaction with the earth, plants, and people around me.

Everything I have put into the garden, time, sweat, energy, the garden has given me purpose, compassion, and sustaining happiness; which has translated into different successes and accomplishments that I had on campus and in other areas of my life. My journey in the garden has taken me on a lifelong path that I thought I would never have considered. I hope that whoever reads my blogs will also consider embarking on the mission to heal themselves through healing the soil, because just as the garden has given so much to me it can also give to you.

I would also like to reflect on Cesar Chavez’s legacy. As I have gotten to experience firsthand what it takes to grow and harvest food. Because of my experiences, I have gained a deeper insight to the injustices of the food system on my community on several levels. We have a complex problem, but it doesn’t have to have a complex solution. We need to grow our own foods, and we need to avoid supporting industries that contribute to human rights abuses and injustices. Only then we can have compassion and respect for the people that grow and pick our food, who make our clothes, and all of the other conveniences in our lives that we take for granted.

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own. – Cesar Chavez

It can be simple to just live simply. And live simply, so that others can simply live.

by Tracey Walters

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