Compost for the kingdom

An experiment in gardening

Adela and I were hauling water for the first spring crops—peas, potatoes, spinach and lettuce. With five-gallon buckets in each hand we headed down to the creek, dipped our buckets, hauled them back up the hill, then handed them off to another crew.

Adela handed off her buckets with a smile, and we talked—she in rapid Mexican Spanish, me in halting gringo Spanglish. She told me about the years she worked in the tobacco fields. We rested. Then we went back to work.

Adela is one of 20 founding members of Anathoth Community Garden, an experiment in church-supported organic agriculture. The idea is simple: members pay $5 a year, donate two hours of their time a week and agree to work at whatever needs doing. In return, they receive a share of the weekly harvest—everything from arugula to Zapotec tomatoes—from March through November.


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