By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Don Norris

Ever exchange ideas, share what you have, learn from one another?  Why bother?  It’s what our parents and grandparents used to do! It was neighborly to do so a few years back, and still is!  

It’s not old fashioned and out of date, just visit the internet and you will find many are doing this.  However, today there are many who still ‘spread the love’ the old fashioned way and we are here to tell you about a few of your neighbors doing just that.

In August 2016, the Duluth Historical Society shared a news article sharing the unique relationships formed by a few organizations with the mutual goal of helping those in our community who are unable to secure fresh farm vegetables due to lack of discretionary income and from that article the wheels began to turn and soon catch on for spreading the love.  

The staff at Coleman Middle School in Duluth, sought to teach their students about sustainable gardening through a hands-on project.  Ms. Sheila Harmony, STEAM Coordinator at the school received a grant and soon students began growing lettuce in a garden. They now have plans to start gardening through a hydroponics system.  Their lettuce was donated to Hands of Christ, Duluth’s local food bank, which in turn distributed the produce to those in need.  What a way to spread the love (by sharing their produce!).

tomato gardenShortly after, a local Duluth resident donated 50 tomato seedlings to the Duluth Historical Society Earth Day event. President Candace Morgan purchased, soil, fertilizer, stakes, and planted the seedlings to share with those in the community who struggle to make ends meet.  Spreading the love, throughout Duluth and Lawrenceville!  We cannot go on any further without acknowledging the Southeastern Railway Museum Director for providing the home for the community gardens for the Duluth Historical Society.  Another example of spreading the love!

Duluth Historical Society received a donation that they passed along to Village of Hope, Lawrenceville.  Cases of surplus garden fencing which they had auctioned off by Trader J’s Auction House with the proceeds going to Village of Hope which serves the homeless, offering them hope!  What a wonderful way to spread the love!  One of their friends in need, Maria, is 83 years old.  She has her own vegetable garden.  You see, Maria has been a gardener her entire life and she knows that raising her own food provides satisfaction, success, and savings (financial)!  She is one example of our neighbors who we help, but also help themselves.   Going to a food bank or receiving free food from someone does not provide one with a sense of pride and accomplishment. It helps them when they are struggling but when one provides for themselves and is not totally dependent upon others, it boosts their self-esteem and confidence.  They begin to have hope.

Bear with me as I share one last peek into the life of another Duluth family who is spreading the love.  A young man recently passed away and he had garden produce he often shared with others. The Duluth Historical Society has accepted seeds from his family for a garden and will tend the plot, passing along the produce when the harvest comes, just as he did.  He set an example and they will keep his memory alive and his vision to help others through feeding those less fortunate.  It’s called spreading the love!

I can’t help but wonder where we fit in this picture?  Can we learn from others?  From a family who lost a loved one, from students in a middle school, from the Duluth Historical Society, Southeastern Railway, and Village of Hope?  They continue to share the love with others.  Let each of us begin to think, exchange ideas, and share with our neighbors.

Contact Candace Morgan, 770-403-1795 and get started on your summer garden while gardening with your friends here at the Duluth Community Garden with a 4’x 4’ box for $50 or the larger box 4’x 8’ for only $100 for the entire year!