10 Days to Victory: Day 2 = LOVE by LaManda Joy


The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. – Gertrude Jekyll

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My parents gave me a lot of gifts growing up. And the ones I treasure most are the ones I didn’t even realize I had until years later – the skills of gardening, cooking, canning and baking.

My husband Peter and I lived in Edgewater (a north side Chicago neighborhood) for seven years in a lovely condo overlooking the lake. The only drawback was that we had no place to garden – the yard wasn’t sunny enough for vegetables and there were no community gardens around. Every spring the gardening bug would strike and I would be miserable for months until the Farmer’s Markets kicked in which helped a little, but not much.

In February of 2006 Peter said one Saturday morning “Should we go look for a house? No, wait. Should we go look for a YARD?” We did and found a “yard with a house attached to it.” By the summer of 2007 The Yarden was installed.

My parents came out to see the new developments (they live in Oregon so it was a haul to get out here – they drove!) Daddy was excited about the new garden and particularly our seed starting rig.

We gardened as a family but dad really taught me to garden as a child – deliberately and with great thought because he believed it was a good skill to have. We had a huge garden – or at least it seemed gigantic at the time.

His gardening interest had waned over the years as it got harder to bend down and trees grew and created too much shade for vegetables. After his visit that spring, I sent him home with some seeds he seemed interested in. When I went to visit later that summer I saw that he’d revived his gardening efforts near the far edge of the patch where there was a small corner with enough sun. We inspected the garden and talked about climate and pests – normal stuff gardeners talk about. And I saw in his eyes that he was proud that something he loved, I loved too and how The Yarden had reminded him of it.

When I started blogging in 2009 I realized that a lot of people didn’t know how to grow food (or cook or can or bake) and I enjoyed sharing things I had been taught with friends via social media. And I thought a lot about gardening, how I loved my dad for teaching me and how happy it made me in general. And maybe there’d be a way to share that with others on a big scale? Who couldn’t use more “happy” in their life? Not to mention delicious, nutritious vegetables?

Fast forward several years and literally thousands of people have had the chance to garden – and many have had their first gardening experience – via the Peterson Garden Project. That’s a legacy dad can be proud of…

How many more people can learn this amazing skill in 2013? How many daddies and daughters can spend time together that they’ll never forget? Your vote can help us secure $10k from Chase Community Giving which will mean more places for people to garden in Chicago and more food gardening education. If we all do an awesome job spreading the word – and become the top organization – the award of $250k could mean a lot more… job creation, extensive education programs, enhanced work with food and nutrition partners, cooking programs and LOTS of happy.

VOTE HERE: http://j.mp/ChaseGivingPGP and please tell your friends. A quick vote can equal a lot of loving memories.