Stewardship Reflections: Anchored to the Earth in times of Climate Crisis and Pandemic

Last month Jaymie put a call out for folks who have participated in the recent EartHand Guilds to share a reflection of their experience for our blog and newsletter. She was elated to receive this hopeful and thoughtful reflection from Margo who participates in the Means of Production Stewardship group. Here are her words:

“One day last winter – in the depths of a pandemic funk – I was walking in my new Mount Pleasant neighbourhood when I spotted a man lovingly tending bamboo plants in a garden I had barely noticed at the top of China Creek Park. I asked the man – who turned out to be long time MOP steward Martin Rose – what he was doing. He explained that he was trimming bamboo as part of a stewardship group for the Means of Production garden. He told me a little bit about the garden and how I could connect.”

Martin in the bamboo grove at the MOP garden.
Margo holding a pitcher of her thirst quenching turmeric/ginger lemonade at the MOP garden. Photo by Heather Michaud.

“I knew a little bit about Sharon Kallis from my time at the Vancouver Park Board as Communications Manager. I knew about her work at Trillium and the fibre garden there but had no idea that Sharon and husband David were the driving forces behind a garden that serves so many.  I come to the garden not as a Maker or a fibre artist but as a foodie and passionate cook with a growing interest in plant medicine. I come from a farming family in east central Alberta and last summer rehabilitated my Grandparents’ flower and vegetable garden in the family home I inherited from my Mom. 

I spent the fearful, early months of the pandemic in 2020 with my hands in the harsh climate of the prairies and I was hungry to dive into the lushness off the coastal garden this year.I’ve learned so much from Sharon, David, Ryan, Heather and the rest of the passionate MOP crew this spring and summer.”

Means of Production Garden hillside in the spring

“In no particular order I’ve learned: how to build a willow fence, how to prune thimbleberries and fruit trees, how to trim and mulch fruit trees to give them light and air, how to cure a nettle burn and how to make healing plantain skin balm. I’ve learned that I find strange satisfaction in attacking a pile of running buttercup! I’ve learned how to harvest dye plants and had a beginner’s lesson in working with plant dyes. I have found Sharon to be a uniquely gifted, enthusiastic and patient teacher. 

The Cultural Territories 101 Guild with Nicole Preissl provided a much deeper understanding and respect for the array of cultural practices and plants used by First Nations around the province. The opportunity to work through the seasons in the MOP garden keeps me anchored to the earth in these times of climate crisis and pandemic. I have discovered that “horticultural therapy” really is the best medicine for any kind anxiety. I am profoundly grateful to be a part of this community of people who love plants. “

2019 Celebration at MOP with Legion of the Flying Monkeys playing under the willow and hazel canopy
Picking raspberries at the MOP food forest

Thank you Margo for this generous contribution and for all that you and everyone in the Stewardship groups do for EartHand and the many humans, plants, and animals that get to enjoy the spaces you help to create.

EartHand tends two gardens in Vancouver that grow artist materials among other pollinator, medicinal, and food plants. These gardens are cared for by Sharon and David with much support from the hardworking and enthusiastic Stewardship groups. For more information about these gardens visit these links:

Means of Production

Trillium North Park

Wondering how to get involved in stewardship? In late September 2021 look for our call out for training new stewards at Trillium and Spring 2022 will be our next training sessions for Means of Production garden. Sign up for our newsletter here so you don’t miss the announcements!

Means of Production Garden in the Spring