›› Josh Wagler

We are well into winter now but at the Commons it feels like spring is just around the corner. Winter is a time of darkness, and this darkness can often bring great challenges. Over the years, one thing has become very clear to me. The answer is tea! It doesn’t matter what the question or ­challenge is, 9 times of 10, the answer is tea.

As most of us know, the past year has been somewhat tumultuous at Spring Ridge—so many different perspectives! Over 80 ­people showed up to be heard at the ­community meeting last September. Thanks to ­excellent facilitation by Lee ­Herrin, tedious ­transcription by Linda Chan, and excellent filming, these opinions can all be heard at ­springridgecommons.­ca.

Diversity can be challenging to navigate, but ultimately, diversity creates great value. That brings us back to tea. Everything comes back to tea! Tea of a single variety is nice, but a diversity of plants adds so much depth. It’s early in the season, so much of what is harvestable right now is used in tea. These plants include rosemary, cat’s ear, dandelion, chickweed, plantain, miner’s lettuce, lemon balm, red dead-nettle, milk thistle, and cress. Most of these plants are multi-functional and can be used fresh in a salad. Oh the beauty of multiple functions!

Red CloverPlant of the Month: Red Clover , Trifolium pratense

Red clover’s functions include nutritious tea for humans, attracting pollinators, and building soil fertility via nitrogen-fixing root nodules. For this reason, red clover is often the foundation for new food forests.

As we move forwards towards spring, lets look to red clover as inspiration. Let us add value in multiple ways, and respect the many roles that each of us plays within the Commons and beyond.

If you love freshly-picked tea, come join the others at Bee in The Garden, which ­continues every Sunday at 1:30 to 3:30pm at Spring Ridge Commons. All are invited to join be in nature, join the conversation, enjoy tea, play an instrument, create art, volunteer in the garden, and gather food!