#6: Meet Sharona, Garden Leader at Ruby Hill Community Garden
“When I came back from the Peace Corps, I thought, “we are really in trouble.” We have a system that’s based on fossil fuels and it’s unsustainable. The Senegalese were living so close to the ground. They’re farmers at heart. When the rains came and it was time to start farming, they had a skip in their step. I felt more secure knowing where my food was coming from. When I saw the food insecurities here, I knew I needed to work with people on how to plant their own food.
This is such a vital resource that we need to be passing on to our new generations by making our food systems local. I’m still a student. I use the garden as a laboratory and a living library of knowledge. It’s trial and error every year. When new gardeners come in I think, “oh good, converting more people!” It’s been such a treat to see people become gardeners. Even in their 2nd year, it’s like a little jungle in their 12×12 plot.
The garden is a hub for building community. The garden is like a plant: you plant the seed and then the roots just get deeper and more established. It’s taking off on its own. Every garden has its own little culture. Multiple languages are spoken in the garden and it’s bringing people together. So many friendships have grown out of this garden, lifelong friendships. This is how we found each other.
I’m trying to foster “from seed to medicine.” We turned two plots into medicinal garden plots and one plot is donated to pollinators. It’s helping us bridge a gap of what our ancestors have always known. They were plant people, hunter-gatherers. That’s how we got here today. I want to help people reconnect with that again. DUG is a gift to our community. DUG says to us, “here is your gift, now go play with it!”