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Grassroots Gardening: A Gift from the Garden

Anna Hall, communications specialist with the Jekyll Island Authority, recently procured a plot at the community garden on the Island. She, along with her husband, mother and father, will tend to the land, trying to grow the goods of the earth, reconnect with nature– and each other. The Grassroots Gardening blog treks their progress.

Gifts from the Garden

Kevin Udell looked at me across the table, head tilted, as if I had just said the moon is made of cotton candy.

“We have a community garden on Jekyll?” he asked.

Having worked with the Jekyll Island Authority for several years, I figured Kevin already knew about this wondrous community plot of land just a short walk across the street from his office. Kevin, in fact, works a director of sales and marketing. His job is to know all about, and then sell, the Island. If he didn’t know about the garden, who else didn’t know?

A lot of folks, it turns out. During that marketing and communications meeting Monday, nearly the entire department shared Kevin’s ubiquitous astonishment that such a natural treasure was so hidden. Here I was thinking it was just me, the new kid in town. I felt much better knowing that I had been the barer of great news.

“Yeah, apparently it’s been here for 30 years,” I told the group, a fact I learned the day before from David Egan, a Jekyll resident and avid member of the community garden group, who welcomed me to the dirt-digging club over the weekend.

Turns out, while attending the Jekyll Island Plant sale Saturday, my parents had received a tip about the less-than-well-known community garden plots. Instantly, they grabbed hold of the news and asked to get one. Just so happens, fate stepped in, and one plot had recently become available. They snatched it up then and there. And that’s when I got the phone call.

“Anna, we have a community garden plot and we’re sharing it with you,” my mother said when I answered the phone. No hello, no how are you. Just this bit of golden garden news.

“What? Where?”

She said on Jekyll, and I, like Kevin and the rest of those aforementioned meeting attendees, tilted my head in confusion. She filled me in on the day’s events and the location of the garden, and we set up a time to meet the next day to see this new venture we as a family would undertake.

The next day, my husband Michael and I met my parents at the garden, driving down a few winding dirt roads, walking through some brush, and then finding this Mecca, this wonderland of color and flowers, vegetables and butterflies. It felt like a scene from a Disney movie. I always knew Jekyll Island was special. But this was just over-the-top fabulous.

And then I saw our plot. Overgrown only begins to describe the radically messy pile of weeds and sandy dirt that was our plot. My hopes dropped a bit, but then I realized this was what gardening was. You have to start somewhere.

While pulling up a few weeds to get a taste of what was to come, though, I was blessed with a gift from the new garden. A head of cabbage awaited me. I love cabbage. Coleslaw for everyone! As I walked away from the garden, I thanked it for the greens, and felt my hopes soar. There would be more where that came from. One day

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