Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Blog Action Day

Some of you may have noticed a banner on the right side of my Vermont Gardens blog. It mentions Blog Action Day and makes a commitment this year to the topic of poverty. I've already written about this at The Vermont Gardener but the topic is dear to me so here are some different thoughts.

For most people in America, getting old means learning to live with less. Although we live in an affluent country compared to some, most people find that by the time they retire they have not saved enough and inflation or health issues have created uncomfortable pressures. Some folks do better than others but conversations about "making do" are not uncommon.

My parents grew up during the Depression and they got by with all kinds of little phrases and thoughts that made them happier. They also did some things that were the direct result of living during tough times. My mother saving every Hellman's Mayonnaise jar during her lifetime in Vermont was such an example. Although my family had little, my Dad always said it was the little things that counted most and he often repeated "Please and thank-you don't cost a dime."

A few years back, Gail invited the local Seniors group to visit our flower farm for a little look-see after their meal at the community center. Gail had this thought that they would like to walk the gardens and see flowers that they may have planted and tended themselves during times when the earth wasn't so far away and when bending over didn't hurt so much. Looking back on the visit, Gail wasn't thinking about poverty when she made the invitation, she was thinking about the absence of something people probably enjoyed during earlier times of their lives. Just the same, for some people, poverty really does mean giving up what was meaningful and fun in the past for lack of health or resources in the present. Here's a picture of the group. Their faces portray the way the gardens temporarily erased thoughts of age and need. (click to enlarge)

A couple weeks back, our zinnias were in full force and were growing faster than we could sell them all. One Sunday night I picked a bucket full and dropped them off at the home of a local lady who manages and helps cook at the Senior Meals Program here in Marshfield. I suggested that the Seniors might like some flowers as zinnias appeared in about every Vermonter's garden in the old days.

It took me a few days to get the story about the impact of the flowers but the story made me smile. Essentially the flowers were spread out so everyone could make their own bouquet to take home. I guess the conversations complete with reminiscent garden stories was worth it's weight for all involved.

Today is Blog Action Day. One of the goals is that people stop for a minute and reflect upon themselves, their families, communities and world. Sometimes little things really do make a difference. There's plenty of time today to make a difference.


George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

PS Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty was a huge success. Check out