‘Don’t tell everyone where those red gum posts are’ says my husband ‘or there will be none left for us’.
So begins another philosophical blogging moment – to share, or not to share? Apparently, according to some psychologist or another, sharing is more likely when one is happily aroused. And you know how much my vegetable garden turns me on – therefore, ipso facto, voila, etcetera, I garden, therefore I share. It appears the natural expansion of my joy after being in my garden can be continued online, with others. You can read more about it here, but the bottom line is that the more excited we are about something, we are more likely to share it – and that’s what drives social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
In that spirit, last month I started an online barter group in a Facebook group called ‘Surf Coast Fruit and Vege Barter’, which has expanded now to encompass Geelong (since we seem to freely move between these neighboring shires) and has been re-dubbed ‘Surf Coast and Geelong Fruit and Vege Barter’. It’s certainly not the first of its kind, and I have a slight fear that in my enthusiasm I’ve trod on other people’s toes, but I think my group (although I don’t feel it’s mine entirely but the people who make it up) is slightly different for a number of reasons that I may or may not go into in a minute.
I set this group up because I was really excited about the produce that was coming out of my garden and I wanted to share it with others. I want others to have a slice of my apple pie, and I want to see just what the apple pie of others looks like too. Turns out there are (so far) over 220 people across two shires that are in varying degrees of saving the world by gardening and growing their own produce – from experts, to amateurs such as myself, to those who would dearly love to but just haven’t got there yet. They are asking and giving information about planting seasons, manure, online suppliers, bees and mulch. They are swapping pumpkins for potatoes, tomatoes for lemons, quinces for parsley. I’ve discovered so many people doing so many wonderful things that are just as enthused about it as I am, and thus are compelled to share.
Inspiration was the other reason I started the group, to both inspire others and to be inspired myself. It’s been amazing having people say that they’ve been inspired to plant winter crops for the first time ever, or to plant garlic, or to build a greenhouse. And I’ve been motivated to plant more, to grow heirloom vegetables and to join Diggers Club, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages, instead of buying seedlings from Bunnings.
It’s heartening to log on and see people swapping and having conversations about a time old past time (dare I call it that? or is it a lifestyle choice?) such as gardening. I love the fact that my plants are being spread about two shires and that the comfrey I’ve divided will attract bees in an increasingly urban world. I love the fact I’ve been making jam and pickles when I never have before, inspired by other amazing people to do so. I love the fact I can grow something, be excited about, and share it.
So, dear husband, who has already copped this philosophical rant, I will share. We may not have some things (I really didn’t want to sacrifice another bulb of garlic to the group, though I have, in the spirit of giving and sharing) but we are ultimately and utterly enriched by the things coming back to us that we throw out into the world.
Plant more, grow more, share more.