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October in the upper Midwest is usually the time for final fall harvests from the garden. The last of the tomatoes are gathered and processed. Herbs are cut and dried. Apples of all varieties are picked for snacking enjoyment. Annual trips to corn mazes are planned and taken and golden trophies are carefully chosen and carried or carted from the pumpkin patch.
I am fortunate to have grown up in and continue to live in an area that is rich in agriculture. I can attend a farmer’s market almost any day of the week from May through October. Although I have not always considered myself as such, I feel blessed knowing that I have a connection to the land and to its bounty, one than many Americans who live in literal “food deserts” are not able to enjoy. Even worse, some don’t even know that they are missing this connection.
But I also have hope and a sense of responsibility to share the harvest with others. There are many opportunities out there. In my hometown our farmer’s market has a collection table where extra produce can be purchased and donated so that people who many not be able to afford it can enjoy fresh produce. We have several local gardens located in inner-city neighborhoods where people of all walks of life are welcome to work and eat from the land. Local nurseries, garden centers, master gardener groups, libraries, and technical colleges offer a variety of classes on gardening from container gardening to straw bale gardening, composting to seed saving. Even at work, people bring in grocery bags full of fresh produce from apples to zucchini. We share recipes on turning green tomatoes into mock raspberry jam, swap heirloom seeds, and talk about what the deer and rabbits got away with this season. Even in October we plan ahead with the eternal optimism of micro-farmers, looking ahead to what is possible next season.
As lovers of the earth and its bounty I encourage us to “share our harvest.” It might be a recipe for using a seasonal fruit or vegetable. Or perhaps it is saving and sharing seeds with friends, co-workers, and neighbors. It could even be just talking about our experiences with a garden, no matter how big or small that garden is. Talking about the fruits of our labors is a wonderful way to spread our passion for plant based living.