Three families with young children came to the Edible Landscape Project community gardens in Albany, California early this afternoon. They were multi-racial and multi-generational, spanning in age from about 4 years old to perhaps 55 or 60 years old. The young children were totally into the flowering plants, particularly the borage, calendula and swamp milkweed, which were attracting some bees.
A little boy, maybe 4 or 5 years old, asked me about the bees. Then he saw the little star-shaped blue flowers of the borage plant nearby. I bent down and told him, “You can eat these. They are tasty and good for you.” He looked at me kind of wide-eyed and said, “Really?” I plucked a flower, ate it, and said “Yep.” He said, “Give one to my dad” and called his dad over. I told his dad that the flowers have omega fatty acids in them and are nice to add to salads. He thought that was cool, but didn’t eat any. Then I plucked another one and ate it, and the little boy said, “Give one to my mom.” I went over to his mother and told her that her son wanted her to eat one of these flowers. We both kind of laughed and she seemed interested in the garden, but again, didn’t eat the flower, which was fine. I figured it was just part of the experience of teaching about such things. Anyway, I was enjoying eating them, so I ate another. The little boy saw me and stepped over to the plant. Just as his parents were calling him to leave, he plucked a flower and ran off with it.
In the meantime, a little girl and her mother had stepped in front of the calendula. She was a little older than the little boy, maybe 6 or 7 years old. She wanted to know about the flowers. I told her, “If you have a rash or skin problem, you can boil this flower and put it on your skin and it will help it.” The mother turned to her and said, “Oh, this flower is medicine.” The girl looked down at the beautiful orange flowers and smiled. She had watched me eat the borage flowers earlier, and heard me talk about how tasty and good for us they are. Her mother saw the giant lemongrass plant nearby and told her daughter about how her grandmother used to use lemongrass. She spoke about how good it smelled and how it was an important plant for cooking and medicine. She even snapped a piece off and gave it to her daughter to smell.
All of this happened in about 10 minutes. There’s so much work to do to transform the world as we know it, and it can happen right before your eyes. You might even be a part of it, helping to instigate it. Don’t assume that it’s all about grand, dramatic gestures. It can be as simple as a group of people converging at the right place at the right time, with the right set of knowledge, curiosity, and joy for the life springing forth from the land. There is no set formula for creating a revolution, only hearts and minds living openly, one moment at a time.
Photo by Nathan Thompson – all rights reserved
Recent Nathan Thompson Articles:
- A Balm for Your Body and Mind
- The Gifts of Comfrey
- Learning in the Community Garden
- The Beautiful, Powerful Coneflower