'New possibilities' by Marieke van der Velden

I originally started to look for a community garden plot in Vancouver at the start of 2016. Full, full and full. A few of the gardens kept waitlists. One of the responses I got when emailing to get on that list "I am confirming that you are definitely interested in being added to the waitlist as it will be approximately an 8-year wait". Sure, why not was my response. In the end it all worked out, that was my year of hiking every and all weekend.

But last year a car accident stopped my hiking in it's tracks and my body and spirit needed something new. By chance, through a friend of a friend, I learned about a new community garden that was being built. Although the plots were reserved for groups, they were welcoming to individual members to help with the garden at large. One weekend at the end of June I joined a work party in the garden and two hours later I was invited to share a remaining garden bed with some other individuals. I rejoiced!

Digging in the dirt is better than therapy for me.  For the rest of the summer and into the fall, the garden became a place not just to ease my mind and gently move my body, but also where I could find connection with the fellow gardeners, make friends and enjoy the most incredible potlucks I've ever experienced. I've gone there after actual therapy session to regroup and re-centre myself by getting some dirt under my finger nails. I've danced in the garden, read books and of course, grow food like tomatoes, zucchini and herbs.

You can have all the plans in the world, but sometimes the universe makes other plans. What I learned is that you should have faith that it will give you something you need in return. When I didn't just want, but needed, a community garden - it appeared. With a community, and friends. I met people (including one of my favorite people in the world) who I would not have met had I not been on this path and who make me grateful that I am.

Keep your heart open to new possibilities.

Here's to another exciting year at the Riley Park Community Garden. I will see you there!

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