El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Community of Gardeners

Community gardening is a hot trend in Winston-Salem, and El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services (LCS) is in the heat of it. In this our third season of raising vegetables it is clear that community gardening is as much about “community” as it is about “gardening”. It’s about planting the seeds of friendships, watering them with conversation and time spent together, and fertilizing them with shared meals and laughter. Director of Family Life Programs Enrique Rodriguez-Pastor, better known as Quique, says that the level of commitment from the LCS gardeners has grown in proportion to the time spent investing in relationships among them. This year there is a marked increase in buy-in from Alex, Simona, Angela, Luis, Veronica, and the others as they assign garden chores after sharing personal histories over a pot-luck supper, or enjoy Quique’s Peruvian cuisine while discussing what and when to plant.

Besides the fellowship among the LCS gardeners, the community aspect is validated through several partnerships. After participating in the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Service’s garden mentor training, Corinne Causby and Stewart Ellis volunteered to serve as hands-on resources for the El Buen Pastor garden, and apply their horticultural expertise to such issues as the campaign against Bermuda grass as they share in the meals and work. Wallace Williamson of the local nonprofit Reap More Than You Sow tirelessly provides seeds, wisdom, and encouragement, and the Extension Service’s Mary Jac Brennan is always available for advice. 

Since our gardeners live in apartments or trailer parks, they value the opportunity to grow food for their families. This summer they will also have the chance to take a nutrition class and be introduced to new produce varieties by sharing a Community Supported Agriculture subscription. People gathering around food…it’s a beautiful thing.