Daily Connector | A hop off bike, pick up shovel | Dan Halterman

For ten years I biked home from work, 7 miles up High Street.  A bike route no longer than that was one house hunting need last year, and I enjoyed a 6-mile ride home daily until the Covid lockdown.

The shortest route took me up Cleveland Avenue to 17th, then a quick dogleg onto Ontario and straight through Linden Park to my house.  Then renovation of that run-down park started last summer, with complete fencing that forced me onto streets I’d not ridden before and past a house with the small front yard given to raised garden beds, a sight that fired happy synapses.

Days later I quickly slowed to a stop when I saw a woman tending the garden, introduced myself, discovered an enthusiastic gardener who’d eliminated front lawn and completely covered the rear of her property in thick wood chips for transition to permaculture food growing and habitat provision.  I had a new friend.

A friend who, having moved to that house less than a year before, applied to the city for use of the vacant lot across the street for a community garden.  She’s more visionary and starter than I, with a lot more energy.  I’m a “worker bee” comfortable shoveling (literally and figuratively), digging weeds, and more recently, schlepping and dumping wood chips to cover layered cardboard on the community garden space.

So I get a new neighborhood friend; I’m part of the hard-work start of a vision still coming to being, that will slowly become reality (and may not succeed - statistics on community gardens are available).  And I hope to meet other neighbors in the venture, expand friend prospects with shared work and conversation, and cultivate and harvest food for body and soul. 

I invited a young co-worker, botanist and North Linden resident, who appreciates the community garden and is both additional muscle and a faster-than-Google source of plant information.

The city’s park renovation schedule blessedly detoured me toward socially important community gardening and opportunities for personally valuable expanded neighbor-ness.

The CMC Connector began soon after the start of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in Ohio and will continue throughout the summer based on available content, coordinated through the Columbus Mennonite Church office. Contributors are associated with the church. For more information and to sign up, go HERE. Look for articles Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with the pastors’ blog on Wednesday. All articles are posted on our website columbusmennonite.org/blog.

Mim Halterman
Columbus Mennonite Church
Administrative Assistant
KCMCS Program Coordinator