Skip to main content

Finding connection with food

#5: Meet John and Lily, Shoshone Community Garden

“We lived in China for 7 years, where we met when Lily was my translator on a work project. We like it here very much. I am originally from the UK, and we have a culture in the UK of growing vegetables in community gardens called ‘allotments.’ Allotments are very popular there for people that don’t have access to land. They started as an outgrowth from World War II, often referred to as victory gardens, when there was a shortage of food and people had to be self-sufficient. My parents were avid gardeners, and as a boy looking for extra money, I was assigned chores in their vegetable and flower gardens. I saw the value and effort associated with gardening. My grandfather was an amazing farmer. His backyard was always filled with fruits and vegetables. He became very good at growing everything he needed. He spent all of his time in his retirement years tending his garden and got great pleasure from it. He gave away a lot of his harvest because he often grew more than he could consume.

We are looking at our garden as a work in progress. It is something relaxing that we do together. Gardening has given us such a bigger appreciation for our food. We used to be disconnected from all of the vegetables and fruits we ate. We really appreciate those foods now. Even if it is one little tomato, you think “I grew that!” When you pick herbs and use them right away in your cooking, it is a completely different experience from supermarket cooking. When you throw in fresh herbs, you can really taste the difference. We make traditional Chinese-style soup with lotus root and pork and throw in our freshly harvested coriander. It is so simple but so delicious. When you grow herbs, you can benefit from those really strong fragrances in your food right away. The flavor is so intense; you are capturing so many different essences. It makes a huge difference.

As a boy, I was more interested in the pocket money, whereas now, gardening is life-enhancing for us. We enjoy gardening together and we don’t want to lose sight of that. Once it becomes a chore, there is no enjoyment in it. That is what keeps us focused: gardening is our recreation, and we are doing it because we enjoy gardening. As one gets older, you start to appreciate gardening in a very different way.”

More Faces of DUG

Faces of DUG
December 19, 2023

Climate Action Through Trash

Meet Christi, Master Composter, entrepreneur, and climate activist.  Christi Turner is the founder of Scraps, a compost company born in 2017 as a result of the frustration of not having…
Faces of DUG
August 12, 2020

Teaching the next generation about the magic of gardening

"I believe that every moment is a teaching moment. Getting the kids to see the world in a different way is a fascinating thing. Every time you get just one…
Faces of DUG
November 7, 2020

Gardening for mental wellbeing

“My family had a garden growing up in southern Louisiana. I Ioved harvesting, watering, and watching our plants grow since I was a little girl. In college, I built raised…
Faces of DUG
January 11, 2021

Gaining (soil) security in retirement

"I found out about DUG’s Grow a Garden program 6 years ago when I worked at a nonprofit called Servicios de la Raza. We would tell all of our clients…