I tried hard to concentrate this morning, but it was hard. The Watertown Community Gardens Youth Crew was cooking in the kitchen next to my office, and the fragrance of garlic, onions, collard greens and oregano was wafting through the air. Laughter was also wafting through the air, as the young cooks enjoyed the work of chopping, frying, and kababing (Is “kababing” a word?).
All of this was the culmination of a beautiful program in Watertown this summer, through which a group of young people, ages 11 to 17, spent two mornings a week for six weeks, learning about and growing good food. They gathered at the Grove St. Community Garden to learn how to plant, what “organic” means and why it matters, how to tend and harvest vegetables and herbs.
Roger Dubuque and Meghan O’Connell, who led the program, made the most of rainy days with the students, too. They would gather them at the Watertown Library to do some research on pesticides, food justice, and other issues.
One of the teens in the program told me, with a big smile, that she loved getting up early and having something productive to do right away. Another said she loved the spirit of the group, the laughter, and that she learned a lot.
One of my favorite prayers in our prayerbook is the “prayer for leisure.” Summer vacation could be spent watching YouTube videos, hanging out on the beach or at the pool, or snacking on Fruit Loops and soda. I give thanks that this group of young people chose a different path.
O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation. –– BCP