Last Saturday, our group of friends organized an event at Dr. Chitra Rajagopal’s farm in Gaithersburg on behalf of the William Penn House Quaker Foundation (WPH). The event raised fund for WPH 2016 community garden project. In 2015, several of us helped WPH provide 50 families in SE Washington with garden boxes. The recipients, including one in her 90s, took care of their boxes and had healthy vegetables throughout the summer and fall. Their neigborhoods have been facing the “food desert” problems for years, where fresh vegetables (which often are not so fresh), are much more expensive and in limited amount in local stores. In these neighborhoods, elders and children are in particular at elevated risk for poor health due to the lack of vegetables.
This year, WPH has a goal of providing 200 families with garden boxes. The news about garden boxes last year and the good result have attracted more garden box requests from the residents nearby.
Many of our friends gathered to see how Dr. Rajagopal’s farm has evolved from a big lot of land into areas of crops from different community garden groups, all for non profit purposes. Many more people will have healthy vegetables this year, with the “big” vegetables such as squash or cabbages grown on her farm and being later donated to food desert neighborhoods.
The most touching part of this project is how the vegetables on this farm are planted and cared for by a group of autistic adults. Gardening is considered among therapeutic activities for autistic individuals. Somewhere in the inner city of Washington, the residents will receive crops cared for by people whose life, like them, are at an disavantage as compared to others. It’s a meaningful cycle of giving.
We look forward to late summer when the crops are at their peak, when vegetables are harvested and given to those in need in our community. The benefits from this project extend beyond providing vegetables to the needy. The seeds of friendship from different communities will be cultivated along with the vegetables on Chitra’s farm.
Thank you Raj and Chitra, for a meaningful day!
“Let us then try what love will do”