Gardening for peace: Growing peace where you are – Part 2

Preparing your organic/grassroots garden!

Whether your garden is planted in the ground or in the hearts and minds of the community, you need to prepare and take special care of it. Preparing your organic/grassroots garden!

Whether your garden is planted in the ground or in the hearts and minds of the community, you need to prepare and take special care of it. According to the organic gardening website at, organic gardening is as simple (or simpler) than gardening using chemical fertilizers and herbicides, but it does require planning, forethought, and attention to detail. Don’t just leave your plants or those human flowers in your garden to chance.

Since the organic gardener can’t depend on forcing the soil to do his or her bidding with chemicals, the soil must be carefully prepared for planting. This preparation really begins the season before the garden is planted. Loam, leaves, and other forms of compost are heaped on the garden site and allowed to percolate their nutrients into the soil. Next, the compost is mixed into the soil and the soil is broken up and aerated. This process continues until the soil is rich, moist, and stuffed full of nutrients. For your human plants, a good resource you might consider is a splendid book entitled Forty Reflections For Cultivating A Spiritual Practice: The Sacred Art of Listening by Kay Lindahl who is the founder of The Listening Center. “Learning how to listen to and speak with each other are essential skills for creating relationships that lead to mutual respect, dialogue, understanding, and peace. As I explore a spiritual approach to listening, my understanding of what it actually means to listen continues to expand. Listening encompasses much more than words. Listening is a way of being in the world. These reflections speak from the voice.” Listening is the fertile ground for growing our relationships in our community gardens. It is the foundation of relationships, because without listening, we cannot have understanding. Without having understanding, we cannot have love. The act of gardening is a profound act of love.

As we begin to grow our gardens, a gardening journal can be a helpful resource. A garden journal should be a creative tool and a fun place to work. It can be a student’s special record of a special place and time. Ultimately, it should become a prized personal possession. It should be a place to express a sense of wonder, to ask questions: “What is different about today? What do I hear, smell and see?” “It can help a student express curiosity, observe more carefully and gain a respect for all life.” A garden journal should also include specific observations about plants, animals and weather, events in the community, joys, challenges as well as hopes and dreams.

The following is a list of books and other resources to help you in nurturing and developing your garden:

*Search for an Ecologically Responsible Living: Garden as Metaphor, by Carman Ditzler

*”Teaching Peace Through Gardening”

*Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) “Gardening for Peace” is a part of the WAMM Intercultural Action for Peace. Our goal is to gather grassroots community participants in critical reflection about the interconnections of poverty, racism, militarism, and war. We will act together through activities such as theatre for social change, creating peace gardens, participating in workshops and celebrating the rich diversity of cultures in the Twin Cities community.

Join us Monday evenings for six weeks throughout the summer, at Seven Bridges World Market, 400 1st Ave NE in Minneapolis to share critical reflection and celebration. Call the WAMM office at 612-827-5364 or check our website at for dates.

“Grow Peace Where You Are” Gardening packages include a peace garden sign, WAMM tote bag, and valuable information about community resources. In addition, each package will include a donation of organic seeds from Seeds of C

June 23, 2003
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