There are multiple stories at Mulberry Community Garden (MCG) that share similar themes. The Garden impacts individuals in multiple ways as a place of refuge, a place to share talents, and always a place to find community. For Julie, MCG provided all three of these while she lived in Colorado. As a graduate student in the public health program at Colorado State University, Julie became connected to MCG through a mentor when she expressed interest in community food security. Julie was able to use the garden as a location to implement class projects such as grant writing and community service. Thanks to Julie’s efforts the Byler Natural Area adjacent to MCG received new native plants to attract pollinating insects to the area. Third and fourth grade students at Polaris Expeditionary School enjoyed a fall field trip to the garden hosted by Julie where they harvested foods to make a simple salad. A highlight of the day were several students tasting beets for the first time.
Beyond these events, Julie connected with the garden at a deeper level. Living nearby, she used the garden as a place to enjoy quiet time alone to reflect and a place to be in community with others. Julie not only gardened alongside other members she found a community to relax with after classes, a community to share sorrow and hugs, and a community to share joy. When Julie graduated from her master’s program, there was a big garden celebration with potluck dishes and music galore. Since completing her degree three years ago, Julie has moved to Massachusetts where she runs a local food pantry. Recently, Julie visited Fort Collins to join in the celebration of life for a long time garden member. Tears flowed as old friends were reunited around the fire pit with tables full of food. MCG is more than a place to grow vegetables, it is a place to grow a community.