When I was at the Harvest Festival 10 days ago, someone left a Fall and Winter Gardening Guide put out by West Coast Seeds on the Pacific Gardens display table.
Intrigued, I brought it home to take a look, hoping to get some understanding of what's involved in gardening, and in particular, growing your own food - since I know almost nothing about the subject.
Wow - it was amazing! Page after page of detailed instructions on when, how and where to plant everything from arugula to turnips, and how to do overwintering, heirloom, spring, summer, fall and winter harvest gardens.
Then there were all the cover crops, the sprouters and the microgreens, not to mention the equipment with strange names such as soil blockers, cloche tunnels and cold frames, which help plants grow.
It made me understand why my neighbour Chad is a midnight gardener during the growing season, and why he works so hard. Last night at a meeting on gardening I also found out why he is so committed to this.
He - as do most of us - sees that in the not too-distant future we will face economic collapse due to the destruction of the environment and the effects of climate change.
That's scary. But the way to deal with this is to become as self-sufficient as possible, and food production will be crucial to our survival. That we could all understand.
But I also found out that other members of our community, like myself, have concerns about how this was being expressed. What if your heart is in doing other kinds of community work besides gardening, both within and without Pacific Gardens?
Are you a second-class citizen if you are passionate about social justice, and want to give voice to those who are marginalized, or are a young Mum with the big responsibility of small children to care for? Is what you do less worthy?
This was a tough issue for us to wrestle with, and our community members spent two hours trying to understand the ramifications. To say we were tired and stressed-out by the end of it would be an understatement!
But it was important work. We were sowing the seeds of community, building up the inner gardens of our hearts and minds, and that, just like growing our own food, will take a great deal of time and commitment.
We will keep sowing, and one day we will have a rich harvest for all of us.