Fred Pinkney’s March 25th Reflections

March 25, 2010 by h2c2

The Mishnah Garden: We’re All Growing and Learning

Fred Pinkney

Spring came to Adat Shalom’s new Mishnah Garden with a burst of energy last Shabbat.  In ground that had just several weeks before been covered with several feet of snow, children and adults planted the first seeds.  Peas and onions should be coming up soon.  Four horseradish plants will operate with stealth, sending underground branches out and multiplying from the four corners of the planting bed.  But writing about gardening is sometimes too metaphoric, so restraint is needed.

To me, gardening represents a way to move and grow within and outside our Adat Shalom community.  Gardening together has given me a chance to make new friends of all ages within Adat Shalom.  I have had intense conversations with fifth graders and have been fortunate to have the Vegetable Gardeners Bible close at hand to consult for stumpers.  Outsiders, who are really now insiders, include Montgomery Victory Garden’s director Gordon Clark whose passion is to start and nurture community gardens in churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship.  I count Kim Damion of Manna as a new friend as she explained the challenge of providing healthy and nutritious food to over 100,000 people in Montgomery County.

We can learn much from the experience of others.  I hope to bring my friend Leon from Revitz House over soon to help in the garden. He grew up on a chicken (don’t worry) and vegetable farm in New Jersey about 95 years ago.  Later in the year, we hope to have a canning day, possibly a joint effort with our new friends from Groundworks who work in the Anacostia area of Washington.  Kim tells us that since we have a commercial kitchen we are “Kosher for Kanning” and Manna will accept our homemade canned vegetables, fruits, etc.  But let’s save some for ourselves and our friends to enjoy.  When Gordon talks about eating peaches that he canned last summer in the coldest days of winter, a higher plane of existence is close at hand.

Finally, there are many ways to participate in the Mishnah Garden with and without getting your hands dirty.  A few off the top of my head: a photo album or scrap book with photos and text, a garden video, a garden music video, etc.  By the way, soon garden activities will be eligible for Service Leaning Hours for our students.  Keep an eye on the web site for updates and upcoming events.  April 4 will be a huge construction and dirty hands day, April 10 will be the next big planting day.


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