Dear friends at the garden,
This is definitely the hardest blog post I've ever written because I'm letting you all officially know that I'm not renewing my membership this year. It's been such a hard choice to make but it's the right one for many reasons. We've recently been lucky enough to get a place with a little yard so I will be able to grow my veggies and flowers close by. In the past few years with busy kid schedules and taking care of my sick mom, I haven't been the ideal garden member. It's been challenging for me to make it to the garden since we moved to Kensington and I've relied too much on amazing neighbors (thank you, Anahit!) to water and weed my individual plot. Still, it hasn't gotten the upkeep that I should have given to it. I know the list of people waiting for a plot is very long so I'd love for it to go to someone who will give it the daily love it deserves.
I honestly don't remember how long I've been a member of the garden but my best guess is 13 or 14 years. When I first moved to the neighborhood, it seemed like such a magical space and I would walk by it constantly but it took me a couple years before I figured out how to join. I remember at my first meeting there was a teenage girl who announced that she was moving away and clearly she'd grown up in the garden--a couple members actually started crying when she said she was leaving and I knew that this was a special place with amazing people.
Garden membership at that time was probably around 70 people and it's been amazing to watch it grow over the years with so many dedicated members. I remember once in my early years of membership showing up for a group project day and no one was there--so I just pulled weeds for a couple hours and hoped that that counted--but no one was really keeping track so well at the time. Imagine that happening now? I believe at the last word day I did, there were at least 25 people who showed up--so many people that it almost seemed challenging to find a task for everyone. Clearly, the garden has evolved into a tremendous community of people who take such amazing care of it.
The garden changed my life in many ways but probably most significant by bringing me one of my favorite furry companions. My first year in the garden there was a stray kitten who was always there when I stopped by and who always ran up to me for belly rubs. I had a cat at the time and my landlady only allowed one cat in my apartment. Yet, this little guy seemed to really need a home--and I tried for weeks to find him one without any luck. At that point it was November and getting cold and I was worried about him in the cold so I asked my landlady if I could keep him just until I found a home--she reluctantly agreed. Well, let's just say Joey lived with us for the next 9 years--and in two more apartments--until he passed away 3 years ago. He was the best cat--and I always thought of him as my little garden cat.
And of course, it's been amazing to have my kids experience the garden. They love to come and dig and play in the amazing children's garden. And in the past couple years, they both started to really show an interest in planting and watering. Living in an apartment without a backyard, it's always meant so much to have an outdoor space where they could really get their hands dirty.
But more than anything, the garden has brought so many wonderful people into my life and I am so grateful for that. There are so many amazing souls in the garden. I've so many great conversations about gardening and Brooklyn and food and kids and life with so many of you. I've loved spending time working with people at Group Project Days or just chatting away at the front bench. It's all of you who have made the decision to not renew my membership such a hard one. But the good news is that I'm not far. I will definitely be stopping by for picnics and to see people. I had to promise my kids that we would visit (my daughter actually started crying when I told her I was going to no longer be a member). So this is not an I will miss you good-bye but a see you soon good-bye.
I know that the garden will continue to be an amazing place many years in the future--I know it will be cause it truly is the sum of its parts: all of you. I thank you for being so welcoming to me over the years. And I'll see you soon--real soon.
Doing some final work in the garden.
A very sad good-bye.