SSE Vegetable Garden: Louisville, Kentucky
For the past few years, the SSIO members of the Sathya Sai Center of Louisville, Kentucky, actively participated in various Go-Green initiatives, such as cleaning up local parks, recycling and helping out at a no-kill animal shelter. Recently¸ the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) embarked on a project to plant a vegetable garden at their Center during the spring and summer. The idea was well-received. Everyone agreed whole-heartedly that SSE children working with the bountiful soil of Mother Earth would help them connect more deeply and appreciate all that She has provided.
With guidance from their elders at the Center, the students started cleaning up the garden. After removing debris, weeds, old landscaping cloth, and stakes, they prepared the soil and laid out the planting arrangement. Then, they planted the seeds and small plants, and waited excitedly for the miracle of life to occur.
As the small plants began to grow and blossoms appeared, the students weeded the garden and placed stakes to support the tomato plants. During the hot, dry periods of the summer, they watered the plants to keep them alive. Finally, they waited for the blossoms to become vegetables. Slowly but surely, the transformation began as small peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and okra began to appear.
However, the plants were not the only things that experienced a transformation, as evidenced in the reflections by a few of the Louisville SSE students.
“Sai Baba has told us to serve the planet. One way we can do that is planting vegetables in our own gardens so we end up with ripe, organic, delicious vegetables that are pesticide-free. Planting also helps the environment. It was a lot of fun watering and taking care of the plants whenever we went to the Sai Center.”
“We could see the miracle of life as the plants grew from week to week from a seed to a plant. It reminded me about my growth from a little baby to a ten-year old child. I am very happy to be a part of this service project.”
“Our garden project helped us build teamwork. Everyone had a task, and together we created a beautiful garden. It also took hard work. You can’t just be sitting around doing nothing as your team is relying on your help. It helped us have an attitude of caring for plants and taking care of something other than oneself. The garden not only produced food but it also taught us many important life lessons. I enjoyed it”.
The Louisville Sai Center members enjoyed working with the SSE students and seeing the light and joy in their eyes as they witnessed God’s love in the blossoming of the garden. Being their first venture and a small harvest, the vegetables were shared among members. However, the members have been so energized by the project that they have set a goal of finding a larger space in the community for their vegetable garden and donating the harvest to nearby shelters.