Putting on a different hat (literally)

Hi! My name is Rory and I’m from rural Maine. I’m one of the two interns running the Harvard Community Garden this summer, and we’ll share some of our adventures on this blog with you!

The first two weeks have definitely been a wild ride. A whirlwind of weeding, figuring out what is planted where, and harvesting way too many radishes. See the attached picture of just one of the buckets of radishes we harvested. One of the things I was most excited about was when we planted cucumbers, which are my favorite vegetable. They are just beginning to sprout now.

In my opinion, one of the best things about this job is the amount of time I get to spend outside. After my first couple days, I realized that I hadn’t spent a full day outside in years. With that comes the necessity of sun protection, which is where the hat comes in. Harvard being the place that it is, during the school year I feel compelled to keep up at least some version of the preppy collegiate appearance. But now, I am a farmer (sort of). So the blog entry title is a little deceptive – I don’t usually wear hats around Harvard Square. But now I have been obsessively wearing my new broad-brimmed hat in order to protect my face from the sun. It’s a really nice hat, I promise, and where I am from, nobody would think twice about it. Nevertheless, here it is unusual, and I feel a little bit out of place. Add to that the thin layer of dirt that sticks to my coating of sunscreen, and I’m somewhat less than presentable. But this appearance is the result of the fact that I’m working really hard, so I feel good about it. We’ve already been able to donate a lot of spinach, mixed greens, kale, collards, chard, and radishes to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter and Food for Free. Our garden is important to the community, in ways that we are only just realizing.

On Friday, we had our first community workday and a four-year-old girl came with her father. They helped me plant peas and carrots and we taught the little girl that out of those tiny seeds will come roots and leaves and eventually nutritious (and delicious) vegetables. Even to me, with my previous experience growing food, it seems magical.