Every day at Riverview gardens not only changes with rain to snow to ice storms or sunshine, it is an urban farm that changes each day with each new personality that steps onto the property. At Riverview Gardens the growth is focused on each person involved, whether they come to acquire skills to reenter the workforce or simply to help out with some gardening for an afternoon. Even in five months as a Sustainable Agriculture Intern at Riverview Gardens, each day yielded a unique group of individuals. In hydroponics, I was not only learning about the process of growing varieties of lettuce in the absence of soil, but also sharing stories and singing along to songs over on the radio over the hum of the fans in the greenhouse with a variety of ServiceWorks participants. The lettuce would go to festival or local business, but the most valuable growth was the interaction among those volunteers and participants.
With the approach of spring weather (although it really jumped from winter to summer), the operations expanded immensely, as did the volume of volunteers. That meant afternoons seeding onions, leeks, tomatoes (oh my) at the shop or rows in the greenhouse, plotting out the next greenhouse with the other intern, and also leading groups. It was wild to watch a hundred middle school students tackle thistles and abundant weeds in greenhouses awaiting their summer crops and somehow stay focused for an entire hour! There are always challenges when each day presents different people, with varying experience, motivations, and needs, but those were the opportunities to see new perspectives and grow along with not only the plants, but all the participants at Riverview Gardens. I hope others can find this reinvented golf course and slice of Appleton, whether through an internship, as a volunteer, a CSA share or as a participant to encourage growth, support growth, and grow together with the community.
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