›› Kayla Siefried, Compost Education Centre

Sometimes I reflect on the additional ­benefits of gardening, beyond the yummy foods my family and I get to eat, and the ecosystem services that are provided for pollinators and soil building.

Today, I’m reminded what a joy it is to connect with other humans in the garden, and what a gathering place, a connective place, that a garden can be. At the Compost Education Centre, it’s wonderful to witness groups of children coming for led garden tours, interacting with one another, ­garden worms, and plants they can see, touch, taste, smell. And to engage with allotment gardeners talking with one another amongst the lettuce and flowers. It’s also brilliant to enjoy my home front stoop where I can pay witness to my boulevard garden—­brilliant with lupins at this time of year. It’s fun to see neighbours stop to admire the beauty, and see bees enjoy the pollen and nectar. Or to work in my back garden and have chats over the fence with two of my neighbours, as we exchange admiration for one another’s outdoor spaces.

It’s also been a joy to witness connection and gathering during the seedling distribution days as a part of the City of Victoria’s Get Growing, Victoria! Program—what a fantastic program which really supports folks in the city to get growing in a barrier reduced way. I’ve seen neighbours chatting, families planning their gardens with one another, and an energy of connection, and excitement over growing one’s own food. My oh my, how gardens connect, build energy, and bring humans together.

This summer, when you are planning get togethers with friends and neighbours, bring the gathering to your front yard, local greenway or park, or your veggie garden. Place some cushions on the ground or some chairs around your kale plants, visit with friends and family around the beauty of the summer garden, and build community, by building soil.

Mark you calendar: Saturday, August 6 is the Compost Education Centre’s next plant sale. And Get Growing, Victoria! will have another set of seedling distribution days in different neighbourhoods around the city in August as well.