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After the sign in for ‘We Gather Together’ we took a moment to talk about the day of remembrance and service and how VISTA is a national service program linking this national observance to our area.

We blended a national movement, ‘Children and Nature network’ to this day of remembrance because they both put in to context our relationship to place and people as being of paramount importance to every person. The work of Community Garden Partnership (CGP) and VISTA is always contextualized by the place and by the people where the work is being done. In ‘Growing Food, People and Community’, as CGP’s mission states, an intimate relationship with our soil, ourselves and each other, and our community is that base.

A national day to remember 9-11 reminds us of our common history and shared human experiences. People often are compelled to take rocks from a place as if they were ‘keeping it with them’ to remember the place and its connection to us.

The activities of the day were centered on these connections and how we remind ourselves of our history. Here is how our time together is remember by one participating VISTA.

The event helped me center myself. I was able to identify and connect to my surroundings in a way that was tangible and meaningful. Experiencing a place so vibrant and important as a garden with a group of people refreshed my soul. Caring and vibrant individuals getting together in nature is a combo that is healing in the most basic sense. For me, it resurrected hope and the possibility, if not inevitability, of positive change. Hearing one participant relate a multitude of gathered items from nature to her experience growing up on a farm was humbling. Every stick, plant, and piece of dirt had significance for her. Her realization and expression of this significance made me think on how those same items related to my life. Specifically, it made me think about the building blocks of my life. I think being able to recognize the building blocks of life, those of community and growing food, is important if we are to strengthen the foundation of society.

By Americorps VISTA Robert Furlong (UW Extension) and

By Americorps VISTA Erik Kraemer (Community Garden Partnership)

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