“Las Vegas? You don’t want to live in Vegas! There’s no community”!
- That was the reaction I got before transplanting our family to Las Vegas; uprooting them from suburban Portland, Oregon in 2006.
While the family found ways to connect; church, school, work and the poker table- it wasn’t until I read about Rosalind Brooks and how, by faith, she had undertaken this crazy project; building a community garden in the heart of West Las Vegas, that real community started to form.
Like many, I just started showing up at the garden on Saturdays. I quickly noticed that it didn’t matter how much money you have, where you come from, what you do for a living, what color you are or what kind of car you drive…we are all the same in the garden. The moment our hands touch the soil or peel back a leaf and discover a fresh, ripe tomato, we are consumed with a sense of child-like wonder and joy rushes in.
After a few months of volunteering at the garden and making new friends- I teemed up with my carpool buddy and adopted a garden bed. We have enjoyed a 10 month growing season that has produced a steady supply of organic produce: kale, beans, peppers, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, carrots, tomatoes, jalapenos, and green chile. We have made it a habit to come by every Friday to check on the garden. I actually take a little pride in returning to the office after our lunch-time harvest with dirt under my nails and a huge bag of organic greens for dinner. I am even more thrilled to get to introduce friends to the garden who can experience a special kind of peace, wonder and community.
I have learned from my plot neighbors and enjoyed visiting with them under the awning after playing in our gardens – it’s as if we are on a community porch, telling stories and growing… together.
- Joan Paye