Unity in com­mu­nity

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION - MECHEL WALL

Web­ster de­fines the word “com­mu­nity” as: a uni­fied body of in­di­vid­u­als.

In our mo­bile mod­ern so­ci­ety, we may feel at times like the world is our com­mu­nity. We can know what is hap­pen­ing half way around the world in an in­stant, com­mu­ni­cate in­stan­ta­neously with some­one on an­other con­ti­nent and travel around the globe in a mat­ter of hours. With this nearly im­me­di­ate re­sponse time it can feel like we are part of a great big whole.

We are, but the place we have the most im­pact is right here in our own lit­tle com­mu­nity. In re­al­ity, it is the hand­shake, the neigh­borly wave, the knock on the door and the loaned egg or two that cre­ates the unity we crave.

Back in the 18th and 19th cen­turies when food for the com­mu­nity came from the im­me­di­ate area, farm­ers were vital. They still are, but when most of our food is shipped or trucked in, we lose the con­nec­tion to the farmer. One of the most im­por­tant com­po­nents for a farm was a barn. These were ex­pen­sive and re­quired more man power than a typ­i­cal fam­ily could sup­ply, so “barn rais­ing” events were com­mon. When a farmer needed a new barn, the com­mu­nity came to­gether and in a few days, it was done. La­bor was free. Even­tu­ally the fa­vor would be re­paid as each farmer in turn would get his/her barn built by fel­low farm­ers. What an amaz­ing con­cept!

As we have put our green­house to­gether piece by piece, I un­der­stood how truly vital that old prac­tice was. The ef­forts of 10 in­di­vid­u­als work­ing to­gether on one project 10 dif­fer­ent days would ac­com­plish ex­po­nen­tially more than each work­ing solo on their own project for the same num­ber of hours. We get more done when we work as a team.

The Com­mu­nity Gar­den is a very small project but one that in­cor­po­rates as­pects of a barn rais­ing. Busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als do­nated funds, groups came to­gether to build it and the pro­duce is des­tined for the homes that need it. The on­go­ing main­te­nance be­longs to the com­mu­nity. Fam­i­lies, groups, in­di­vid­u­als that want to help are wel­come. I could do it my­self, but then it wouldn’t be a com­mu­nity project any more. When in­di­vid­u­als join to­gether to ac­com­plish some­thing for the com­mon good, it changes them. May you find your­self at the gar­den one day soon lend­ing a hand or two.

•••

Editor’s note: Mechel Wall is owner and op­er­a­tor of both The Cot­tage Flower Shop and Wall­flower Farm. She can be con­tacted at blooms@wallflow­er­farm. net.

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