When we think of nature, we often imagine quiet, peaceful scenes. We see trees shaking in the wind, a cluster of bright blooms, a bee, a butterfly or two. Here at GSF our gardens not only serve as crucial spaces of learning and discovery, they provide respite for students on busy school days. Much like wilderness itself, however, gardens require constant care. “One of the things that surprised me most about gardening was just how much work even a small space takes,” says Taylor Juleen, a recent spring intern at Garden School Foundation. The work itself is a lesson in patience and the importance of slowing down. “Gardening teaches you to be more patient,” says Juleen. “Plants take time to grow.” Some of the fruit trees she planted during her internship might not mature for years, but she is a part of their growth, their story.
The art of harvesting also demands patience. As Juleen notes, “I planted a bed of kale then had to wait to pick it until the right moment.” Once the kale was ready, she made a hearty salad at home. “One of the most rewarding aspects of gardening,” says Juleen, “is that I get to see the fruits of my labor with my own eyes.”
As she spent time in the garden, her relationship to food evolved. She became more conscious of where her food came from and how it was grown. Most importantly, she learned “just how much energy and labor goes into producing the food I eat.” Juleen, a seasoned cook, remarks that she now feels a deeper connection to the food system and that she better understands her place within in. “I see the big picture,” she says.
In the fall, the fig tree at the 24th Street Garden that Juleen helped care for during the spring will yield baskets of sweet and juicy figs for our students to harvest. For many students, this will be the first fig they taste. Through her work in the garden, Juleen is creating tangible changes in the landscape of LA in the present and in the future.
Want to join to the Garden School Foundation team? We’re currently accepting applications for our Seed-to-Table Internship. To apply, please send a resume and brief cover letter to Elizabeth Hall, Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.