|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 22, 2010
|CONTACT: Bethel Erickson
|Digging the Dirt for a Doctor and a Dream.|
Waco, TX – Wind rustled the treetops – the sun shying from making an appearance until after lunch. Even with less than ideal conditions, many a brave volunteer took to the garden on Monday, January, 18, 2010. Actually 477 volunteers – to be exact – joined by another 197 on Tuesday at a follow-up event to the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition’s MLK Day of Service. Not too many people think of planting a garden in the middle of January – but the reason for such a large gathering of gardeners was larger than the 10 different plots of tilled soil around the city. They gathered in remembrance of a man. They gathered to make manifest the living patchwork of his dream. They gathered to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The event started at 10:00am – with a flurry of activities, hands reaching for paintbrushes, potatoes and pansies. Led by the Waco Arts Initiative, participants painted garden murals – on picnic tables, paving stones, plywood pieces and even an old school bus. The murals will serve as a reminder of the community’s efforts to work together as well as adorning each garden site, adding another splash of color to the green lettuce, red strawberries and yellow onions planted the same day. At noon, volunteers assembled for lunches prepared by Baylor University Campus Kitchens and Community Health Corps. At Carver Park Baptist Church, community members, gardeners and organizers stood up and reflected on what this day – this event – meant to them and the East Waco community in the larger context of Dr. King’s dream. After lunch, volunteers once again took to the garden – watering in the freshly planted carrots and collard greens. At Lake Shore Baptist Church, a neighborhood volunteer brought some of her bunching onions to contribute to the garden. A family of four, whose daughter attends Mountainview Elementary across the street, said they planned to continue helping with the garden. Plans are developing for the Provident Heights garden as a tool for working with students struggling with grief and loss. Planting a garden is only the start of growing a healthy, more vibrant community.
For a few hours on Monday, hands joined together to paint blank canvasses, reflecting on a man and his dream. For a few hours on Monday, hands joined together to plant vegetables, anticipating a summer harvest – and another opportunity to gather. In June, the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition will host a Harvest Celebration to reflect on the growth of the garden, as well as the growth of relationships with each other and within the Waco community. As Dr. King once said, “We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish – but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers.” Sometimes it takes a task as simple as digging the dirt like earthworms to step beyond our comfort and get to know our neighbors and begin living as brothers and sisters.