I was stooped over in the hot sun, soil up to my elbows and sweat running down my brow. Earthworms wriggled at my fingertips as I pushed tiny seeds into neat little rows.
I was in my element, my own little world. It may as well have been miles away, on a quaint country road, instead of smack dab in the middle of the city, with it’s hustle bustle and never-ending noise.
My daydreams were suddenly interrupted when someone shouted at me from the other side of the fence.
I was startled at the sound of a loud voice interrupting my tranquil moments. I’m used to neighbors and strangers alike asking questions about our urban homestead activity in the front yard, and gladly answer their questions… but today I was in the backyard, and having a complete stranger waltz up to the fence threw me for a loop. This introvert suddenly wished we had installed taller fences.
I turned around to find I was being watched by a hefty woman in her early 40’s.
“Whatcha doin, diggin’ for gold?” She said.
“No, I’m working in the garden.”
“Whatcha diggin’ in the dirt for? You’re gettin’ all muddy!”
“Well, I’m planting seeds in our garden.”
“MmmmHmmm…” She sounded, but didn’t leave.
-A moment later-
I could see that she had no intention of going on her way until she had a clear understanding of why I was up to my elbows in the soil.
“No, not flowers, we’re growing food.”
“FOOD?!” What kinda food?!”
And here I was thinking I was done teaching for the day when I left my students behind at school. I took the opportunity to spout out a quick lesson on basic agriculture. This was not the first time I’d schooled a neighbor on where food comes from and probably wouldn’t be the last.
“These are seeds for tomato, cucumber, and pepper plants. I’m planting them in this garden bed and when they grow, they’ll produce fruits and vegetables for us to eat. We’re trying to grow as much as our own food as we can.”
For a moment I was proud of myself for teaching something new to a stranger. Then I saw the utterly confused look on her face.
Oh boy, here we go…
“….You know they sell food at the Rite Aid right around the corner? They have everything over there, chips, juice, they even got cheese!”
“Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.”
At that, she finally went on her merry way, happy that she’d saved another soul from having to dig in the dirt to make food.