Conversations in the Community with Morgan Doherty

April 7, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you go about making sure soil on new lots is suitable for growing food?

We shared some resources on soil testing earlier in the series. You can order a Soil Test Kit from MSU University Stores, send it back in, and get detailed information on the composition of your soil. One risk of gardening in lots where buildings have been demolished is considering levels of lead. This MSU Extension Lead Safety for the Home Gardener resource can help you understand what lead in your soil could mean for production and how to navigate around it. Additionally, you might want to consider these urban garden cover crop resources, which can help you think about ways to build organic matter and beneficial soil climates through cover crops

 

Resources

Video Transcript

[Isabel} Okay, so we are going to get started. On this chilly Friday morning. Welcome to Cabin Fever Conversations everybody. We are so excited to have you here for our ninth episode. And I'm going to turn it over to Abby to introduce our speaker today. [Abby] Awesome. Well, thank you for being here with us everyone. We are excited to have you and this is our second to last or penultimate episode of the 2021 season. And we're really excited to talk Morgan Doherty with us today. Morgan is co-founder of a couple really exciting projects in Lansing that are creating incredible space and doing a lot of really exciting things. One of them is Tender Heart Gardens and the other one is Capital United Land trust. And Morgan we're so happy to have you today. Thank you for joining us and wondering if we could just start by asking you to share what's bringing you joy about the work you do with these two projects in Lansing or with your work around gardening in Lansing? There you go. [Morgan] Give me joy, sunshine. Right at this moment. I know it's cold out, but I'm hardening off some of my onions on my front porch and the sun is shining. I have been able to do work without wearing a coat. Everything is beautiful. I'm also finding a lot of joy in seeing other people who are gardening in the community, all sharing resources and helping each other out. That gives me lots of good, warm feelings. [Isabel] Abby Did you have something to say? [Abby] Oh, it's just going to say that the everybody being outside him and smiling and warm and engaging does definitely emanate that for me too. I know it all of a sudden got cold again in Lansing, which it does in Michigan, right? I think this is third winter, maybe. But it's still has that feel in the air of light. Warmth and spring is coming. So there's the potential [Morgan} things are budding out now. [Isabel] Yeah. Yeah. So Morgan, do you want to speak to a little bit about the origin of these projects? Maybe what needs weren't being served and things like that? [Morgan] Absolutely. So I co-founded Tender Heart Gardens in 2017. I believe this is our fourth season that we're going into. I have been gardening in Lansing doing community gardening projects for most of my life. I grew up community gardening on the South side in the Clifford Park garden, over at the garden project. And I hadn't been I hadn't had space to garden for a little while and I was taking a walk on the east side in Lansing where I live. And I hadn't gone to the area in the floodplain. just to wander through. That's just full of beautiful community gardens. And as I was wandering through, I saw like one of the land bank signs in one of the lots that says, 'lots available call this number". So I did right on the spot and found out how easy it is to access growing space in vacant lots, particularly in the floodplain. And got setup with Tender Heart Garden's first lot, which was at the corner of Fairview and Marcus and I set that up with friends as a queer and trans gardening collective. We sort of envisioned it as a non commercialized healing space and community space for people who find a lot of joy and community in working outdoors together. And after two years in the space doing a lot of improvements on the land, we reached out to to the land bank to see if it was possible to purchase the lot. And we were informed that the lot was going to be slated for development and so it wasn't for sale. So the plan is still to put house on it at some point. And this was a really nasty shock to us. We kind of assumed that the landbank lots that were available for gardeners could be used in perpetuity. And that's not the case. As I've talked to folks at the land bank since, they've, they've made it clear that all of their lots that can be built on are intended to be sold. The land bank lots can be built on obviously. So those, those are going to remain an agricultural use, but all the lots that are outside of the floodplain are intended to be sold and developed on. And I think there are a lot of gardeners in Lansing who don't know that and are distressed by that. We ended up moving to separate Land Bank lot in the floodplain so that we can continue growing someplace where we know that it will have a future. But several of my friends involved with the project decided that we wanted to start a land trust, the Capitol United land trust, with the intent of raising money to collectively purchase land to keep it in urban agricultural use. So we have been working together to set up our bylaws, raise funds and gain membership with people who are growing, who want to collectively work together to keep this land in use. I think that's my extremely long elevator pitch for a tall building... [Abby] where are the origins, but I think, what you shared about it being more than the economic value of the land or the production from that. I mean, I know a couple weeks ago when we had Shakara and Erin on to talk about Detroit, they talked a lot about the value of community building and place-making and healing spaces. And not necessarily having the ultimate end for agriculture being, you know, what kind of economic value does it produce? But so often that conflicts with broader systems of what is our community trying to do with land? And often it is prioritizing that economic value. And then what do we do when we've invested so much into making it something else. i'm really excited to see what what happens at the Land Trust and wondering if you could maybe do a quick "what is a land trust" for folks who are on here who may not have familiarity with that concept. [Morgan] Absolutely. If you look up urban land trusts what you're going to find is community ownership of residential properties. In a sense. People who ,in an apartment building will buy the building from the landlord. It's similar to, but not exactly the same as a co-op structure. Agricultural land trusts, While they're typically rural, operate under the same sort of principle. Membership of the organization all collectively holds ownership of parcels of land. Those can be leased on very long-term leases. Legally, we can do 90 year leases with the intent of people being able to stay on the land that they're working on for a lifetime. and ensure that they won't be asked to move away from it. It keeps land out of development, which folks in Lansing know is a major risk to any vacant properties. We based our land trust pretty significantly on the work of Fannie Lou Hamer's New Commmunity Land Trust, which was a black southern Land Trust. But I believe it has ended and has reassembled itself. New vision. But we did a lot of reading,. Actually, a book I'm reading now, I've got "Farming while Black" by Leah Penniman who goes into a lot of different community ownership models and team farming methods. I'm really interested in bringing into Lansing and helping support. [Abby] Yeah, I love that. And I also have been listening a lot to how movements in some areas, like you mentioned the work of Fannie Lou Hamer, who was a pioneer in some of these community land trust can replicate and multiply and be taken up and adapted to different communities for what works with them too. So obviously, you know, Fannie Lou Hamer was in the South, pretty rural trying to acquire a lot of land for a large community of people. And how that still has applications in urban settings with a totally different community in a totally different climate. It's just really cool to see all those connections and the inspiration and how that spawns. [Morgan] I want to take a moment just because I brought up Fannie Lou Hamer and there's like the pretty glaring thought that I'm a white person taking on this work in Lansing. And one of our primary goals in this work is to make sure the farmland is accessible to marginalized communities. I am honestly considering myself part of that, I'm trans and I also have like financial security. That means that I'm not an intended recipient of the land that we're purchasing. I'm not actually working on any land that we're currently intending to purchase, were primarily reaching out to growers of color who are looking for permanent land access. [Abby] So why don't you share a little bit about the origins of Tender Heart Gardens some of the community needs weren't being met that you created that space for. I'm wondering if you could share a little bit more about the origins of that project and why that work is important. [Morgan] Sure. I can, I should share also that it has changed a lot. You can probably tell I'm a fairly idealistic person. I come in with a big theoretical idea and I wanted a space for like the whole queer and trans community in Lansing to come together and be able to grow things together and heal from trauma. That's not what it is. In the end. There is no one queer and trans community in any community. It's, it's a group of my friends. And we work together and our lives change and converge and diverge over the years. And that's, that's naturally how this is going to work. Right now we probably have ... well coronavirus has really made it a lot more difficult to do community work. We used to have garden parties and big work days with music and everybody would bring food and it brought me a lot (inaudible) in weekend. We haven't been able to do it for the last couple of seasons, but I still see a future for that. I've also started, really valuing the actual worth of my labor more. Its important to me that we not be profit driven. But it's also important to me that I be able to make a living and seeing how much agricultural work is devalued. It. I think it's really important for people to try to sustain themselves on the land that they are working and to show that it's possible and that it doesn't. This is primarily worked done by people of color and women, And like they should be making a living, doing the work that they love. So this is our, I'm actually with Tender Heart Gardens, moving into our first year of small-scale commercial production. And as part of that, I've actually partnered with a local nature center, City on Property Fenner Nature Center. We've worked out an agreement where I'm going to be doing a demonstration Market Garden on about a quarter acre lot that used to be home to a bison, a very lonely bison. And they have a small barn on the property and we'll be able to have a farm stand and a small CSA. But I want to explore the viability of selling produce, trying to do it in an ethical way so that I'm growing food responsibly. I'm taking social responsibility into account by donating a portion of my gross sales to communities that I care about, that i owe things to, And we'll see how it goes. [Abby] A very lonely bison... I feel like that's a good name for something down the line. So sad to think about, but it's also exciting to see the agricultural kind of history come back. and take root there again, it's a full circle kind of thing. The land used to be a farm. Yep. [Isabel] So how do you hope The community can interact with the Tender Hearth Garden space also, Capitol United Land Trust space as well. [Morgan] Absolutely. For Tender Heart Gardens, I can speak to that a little bit more easily, just because I'm the one managing it right now. They love and welcome community volunteers. And I'm also like actively looking for people who are interested in partnership in terms of, I'm really interested in big team farming. And seen ways that different agricultural operations can support one another and collaborate with one another. So I love hearing from people who have big ideas and seeing if there is, there are ways that we can make our ideas bigger together. In terms of Capital United land trust. I think I mentioned, we don't actually own any land yet. We are laying the groundwork for and are trying to be very intentional about what we're doing first. But we are actively seeking out new members. People who are growers themselves or part of growing organizations who are looking for access to collaborative land ownership. We are also doing any number of fundraisers at any given time. If this is something you're passionate about but not actively involved in, you can support that way or by showing the work that we're doing. We also try to leverage the reach that we have in order to help our partners access more labor and supplies. So frequently we're reaching out on behalf of someone who's growing with us, looking for help, assembling a project or helping them raise funds. [Abby] So I'm curious, Morgan, I know the organization is doing a lot of growing this year, but I'm curious what else you're really excited to grow. I have a feeling I know the answer to this question because I think they talk about it a lot, but what are you most excited to grow in 2021 season? [Morgan] So I'm and this is like the thing that Abby and I always I'm always excited about growing dried beans. [Abby] Not eating them, just growing them. [Isabel] I'm surrounded by bean lovers here! [Morgan] I love beans. I mean eating beans. I do love eating beans, but they're also just, they're largely like very easy to grow. The plan for this year. So I'm growing on two lots with Pindar. I'm just right now. We're saw on the lot on Foster Street in the flood plain, which is about a third of an acre, in addition to the new lot. And the Foster lot, I am growing a whole bunch of garlic. I'm hoping to do lots of garlic braids with dried flowers because they're really beautiful. And I'm also growing like all the beans. mostly all the beans over there. I've got a giant box in my attic of all my different jars. Probably at least two dozen varieties of dry beans. [Abby] You might have me beat on that. I think topped out at about 18 but I'm trying to reign it in. [Morgan] I'll count next time. I may be lying. It's a lot of beans. I love them and I think they're beautiful. [Abby] its also needs to have like a diversified product from your garden. You can grow all the lettuce all the kale, all the tomatoes, all the veggies. But I usually need a little more to be full and growing beams helps me feel like I'm I'm growing more of my plate and its a little more substantial. [Morgan] That's true. I remember the first summer that we really grew out some of the little samples, actually samples that I got from you, Abby, to get a larger quantity of them. My friend Julia, who works with us, at Tender heart gardens. Because she's not a gardener herself. She just helps an incredible amount and we were picking them and she's like wait and split them open, which is like the most satisfying sound in the world. And there were black beans in her hand and she said, "I can grow protein." Yes, you can, you can grow your protein. It's amazing. It's a really delightful feeling. So beans. I'm really excited this year. I mean, fingers crossed, it works, but I'm actually trying growing artichokes for the first time. [Abby] Artichokes are a fun one. [Morgan] I have never tried doing this. I'm very excited about it though. They're very cute. Yeah, They are, the flowers are really beautiful. [Abby] They're One of those funny ones because you have to trick them into thinking they had gone through winter. So you're kinda playing mind games with them a little bit, but if it's successful, their flowers are so beautiful and I almost want to let them open up and go to flower it is so beautiful. [Morgan] I was going to say I'll have a hard time harvesting them because I know how they are if you just let them go. I think those are the two things that I'm most excited about this year. Obviously what i'm I'm nervous but also very excited for is this is my first time trying CSA. A friends and family CSA of people who love me and won't be too mad if some things go south. Which I think is how you have to start [Isabel] that sounds like a good way to start with reasonable expectations it's always good to have understanding customers. [Morgan] Yeah, I want to open with this, but also, I'm a real planner. I love a spreadsheet and I am excited to see how the flow of the season works in terms of like growing diversified For people, rather than what I've previously done is we just harvest food for ourselves. And what we have extras, we donate to bread basket food pantry food pantry at Allen Neighborhood Center. Or just in a free box on the corner where the garden is, which is like a pretty high traffic location. So yeah, seeing how this goes is really exciting and a little daunting. [Isabel] I'm still stuck on this lonely bison. It's not going to be a lonely space anymore. I mean, the dream there. [Morgan] I'm not doing it this year...I work full-time. But my dream is to eventually have goats there. That's actually how we got invited into the space in the first place, is the director of Fenner Nature Center was talking with the Lansing Parks Director about trying to pilot a prescribed prescribed goat browsing program for invasive species. How cool! if somebody could come in and have a flock of goats and keep them there and browse them throughout the park. Because the bison paddock is actually a 10 acre space. So there's a lot of room in there. I have like big far-off dreams that I'm nowhere near close to realizing. [Isabel] i feel like it is so easy to get so excited and then it is like "O.K. let's plan this out..." be patient... [Abby] I feel like gardening is so much of that big picture... big visioning and then like being brought down to reality. And then you quickly go back to the big picture and something else knocks you down to reality it's a good yo-yo process and hopefully you end up closer and closer to that original vision. [Morgan] Yeah. And I think you need people have a lot of different temperaments working together. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. I got in my head very easily. And sometimes I need people who are deeply grounded people to be like, "yes, but we to weed this." Yes. That's right. We're weeding things today. [Abby] So Morgan to a question came up that I thought I'd interject now... so you've talked about the complications of not having ownership of land you're growing off and I'm sure a lot of folks on the call who are community gardeners might be able to empathize with that, you know, you kind of weigh those cost-benefit analysis of how much do I build up the soil in this land? How much do I bring in organic matter? How much do I plant perennial fruit trees Other, other kind of like fruits and perennial crops. If you don't know how long you're going to be on the land that I imagine building in some of these spaces for longer-term leases or for community ownership, or folks have have more confidence that whatever they do now will reap some reward, not just for the people that come after them, but for them too, right? Because what, what you mentioned about valuing our own labor, I think is totally on have point. Is there anything you're planning now with a little bit more confidence in the consistency of your land, is there any kind of like perennial, annual combinations that you're really excited about or any new crops that you feel like this has opened up for you. So this is complicated a little bit by the fact that I am not working with a purchased land. I am going to be staying on the land where I am because I'm not at this point the beneficiary of any of the land that we're planning to purchase. At the same time, I am, always overambitious, so I've planted tons of perennials. I think. I think there's something to be said for literal ownership of the land. But I think that if we look at growing in terms of just personal responsibility to the land that we're working with. There's a lot that I have put into the little literal dirt that I'm working in that like maybe does not make a lot of sense for me to be planting like a bunch of hickory trees on a lot that I ended up having to leave a few months later. Things like that. So yes, I do plant lots of perennials at the lot on Foster, which reasonably I can assume that I'll be there for awhile. And then we've got an asparagus and white cap mushroom bed already. But I've also painted lots of perennial fruiting shrubs, service berries, elderberries. Pawpaws... things that we won't see producing for a while now. But I think that's what you need to do. I think that's an active hope that even if you're not going to be there, somebody is going to be there and it's going to survive. [Abby] it does feel like an act of hope to plant things that you might not ever reap anything from or that, you know, might get passed several times before they're in heavy production and just have confidence that there's someone down the road who will benefit from that. [Morgan] That's why trees. That's why, like nut bearing trees like they hadn't pairs, they produce lots and lots and lots and most of it's not going to get planted. And so that's what I need to do too. [Isabel] So what are the major things that you hope these projects will give back to the community? [Morgan] That's a great question. It's a really broad one too.... It is. Yeah. I mean, there's lots of things. I really just want to open more conversations between people who are already doing land work because there's so many people who are doing this work and have been doing this work their whole lives who are not in community. with it. I mean, I, I'm in community with a lot of like young white queer gardeners on the east side. And there's so many people in the city who are doing this work, who we can share information and resources with each other and recognize that we're working toward this in collective goals. And I think that if we, if we bring that together, the people who are already doing this work, we will have so much more of a voice than we do now. I think that's the primary goal that I have in this. [Abby] I love that I think one of the things I've really loved about urban agriculture in Lansing is just how visible it is, right? Its smattered throughout the entire city. There's very obvious, even though a lot of it is in a flood plain like I have a lot too, and it is right on a corner and people are walking by all the time And it just creates this greater visibility and opportunity to connect with other people doing it. I think that, you know, if it was super tucked away, That's just how it feels very threaded throughout. [Morgan} Another thing I was actually, I was thinking about this just this week. I met with my garden neighbors across the street from my foster lot is a seven-year-old who lives across the street and can't and I I'd seen him the year before and he never really talked to me. But apparently he decided that I was like a person to hang out with this year. And he was helping me broad fork even though he was definitely not heavy enough to get a broad fork into the ground. But we we spent like an hour talking about plants and what foods we like to eat. And and he was asking where I lived and I was like, I live a few blocks away from here. I need to be contributing to the neighborhood that I'm growing in. I need to be growing in my own neighborhood for one, But also like I need to be aware that I'm in a neighborhood doing work and I need to be doing work for the people who were living here. [Abby] And I think kids are always the place where I feel like it's the easiest and that starts because they just have less inhibitions. They can walk up to somebody. They have no idea who they are. And to say like, Hey whatcha doing. And my first year growing in Lansing too, I had a cadre of these five kids that live next door and they always anytime I can out there running over to help me him. And like you said, it's that balance of, you know, your your time and needing to get things done. It was always like the days that I went out and I was like I have 20 minutes to get this task done that they'd all be over there. But it also forces you to slow down and realize the value beyond the value beyond just like the efficiency and getting things done. So much throughout this series, we've talked about just slowing down and being present with the little things happening and not necessarily rushing through tasks just to get to the hardness sort of thing. And I think, I think all of those things help to just reinforce that. [Morgan] Absolutely. I'm really excited over it Fenner to eventually be able to do work with their summer camps. Though eventually going to have childcare on-site. And being able to integrate programming and learning experience is with young folks on the farm, is so exciting to me. I love working with young people and they're so good at learning things in ways that I'm not anymore and I can learn a lot from them that way. [Abby] Sure. We just had a question that came in about, if you could talk more about your philosophy of the potential for healing, and joy of gardening specifically through the queer and trans community that you mentioned. that it's kind of a focal point for tender heart. [Morgan] I love talking about that. Um, and, you know, everyone's mileage may vary. But for me, being outdoors is inherently a really healing space. As a trans person, it makes me doing physical work outside as part of an ecosystem makes me feel more at home in my body. And I know that's true for a lot of other people. And so at the same time, I'm thinking about when I was in my late teens, teens, early 20s. I worked on I was an intern on an organic farm in Ohio. And I was like a little white baby queer. And it was like scared of everyone. And I was worried I was the only intern working in a small farm with an evangelical farmer living in a trailer without water in a town where he didn't know anybody. And it was just the most terrifying experience. And I walked out of that feeling like, I love this work. And I don't think it's safe for me. Like, I don't think there's a place for me to be doing work in rural areas. I don't think that community is one that I can be in. And I know talking to you a lot of people, I'm from Lansing, but I know lots of people from rural communities who leave feeling the same way. That they, they love being in that place doesn't love them back. And giving people an opportunity to feel loved by the land that they're working on. And among people who love doing that work too, I think can be really healing and powerful. (Now I'm making faces). [Abby} That's right. It's really powerful. I mean, I think there are a lot of spaces where, where folks, you know, stop pursuing things because they don't see themselves reflected or they don't find a space, or they don't feel safe in those communities. And I think just that the power of creating that space for other people to be safe, being who they are and be welcomed and accepted being who they are, and having more spaces like that there, there's no end to how much space we need for that. But even just seeing how much you can do with just a couple quarter acre lots in Lansing for feeding that I guess the multiplier effect of that is really impactful to imagine. Yes. All the faces... [Isabel} Thank you so much for sharing that. Yeah, you may think of this, This place for people to be loved and I think we need that and people are really grateful. [Morgan} If you feel...there's like a whole world on the Internet, especially on Instagram of queer, queer farming community that's out there. Like we're all looking for each other. I think when I started this, I can't tell you the number of people who have reached out who are new to town. Who are moving from places where they had more access to land and they're so excited that there's a place where it feels safe. So. my space doesn't need to be the space for everybody. But I think just seen that it's there and that there are options and there is community out there can help. Isabel, do you want to ask the next one? I was going to ask the one that just came in. Oh, sure. [Isabel] I can I'll ask the one that we have on our list and you can ask the audience question. So great, Morgan, for people who want to learn more or support these projects, where should they start? Where should they look and what can they do? Those are a lot of questions. A lot of questions. [Morgan] Hey, everybody can look at, we've got websites for both projects tenderheartsgardens.com and capitalunitedlandtrust.org Look up. Both projects were on the internet or on social media. You can donate to both initiatives, but also just reach out to talk to us. I obviously love talking about this stuff and we'll do it all day with anybody. Did that the answer the questions. [Isabel} Well, yes. That was perfect. [Abby] There is another question about if you're familiar with projects in other cities that are happening similar or, or how somebody might find if they're not local Lansing other initiatives? [Morgan] I mean, short answer. Yes. There are people doing related issues and other cities I know. Didn't you say that you had on the program folks from Detroit? it was about Black Farmer Land Fund? [Abby] We did yeah, We had folks from the Black Farmer Land Fund two weeks ago. And so much of that, I think it's, it's hard, right? Because there's not like a central organizing for any type of project and any type of city. So part of it is just getting to know what's happening in your area. And through that, I find that the communities tend to be pretty small and I mean, even in Lansing you ask one person and they know somebody who knows somebody and it doesn't take long to get to an answer. [Morgan] I wish things were better advertised. I think there are a lot of reasons of safety, especially in places that don't feel quite as safe as Lansing, Michigan. Last year, I was invited to facilitate a roundtable conversation at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference. For farming. It's funny to me because I was like "I'm not a farmer" because I said that to you, Abby. And you're like, Do you really not think you're a farmer? I have carried that with me in the back of my head every sense. Anyway, yeah. I'm talking to the farmers that were there. We we all sat down and kind of like me, like a little network in our heads that like all the queer farmers that we know the state of Michigan. And it was a huge list. And we're still not we're not all working together. We're not all connected. I mean, it queerness and trans doesn't necessarily imply any other. Relationship or connection that we have. I mean, we had folks who are like big money cattle farmers from New York who just moved here. We have people who are doing tiny micro farms. We have people in the UP, we have people in Lansing. But wherever you are, there's, there's gotta be somebody here. And if you ask around, those networks do exist, they're just quiet. [Abby] So there was another question about creating safety in your space. And specifically the question was about people with different abilities or who might not have a lot of experience. And I know you all have thought about this at Tender Heart Gardens because I've seen it, but what kind of structures or processes do you employ if you're creating that kind of inclusion and accessibility and your spaces? [Morgan] It's a really good question. That's a hard one to, and I know that there are different farming orgs and gardening orgs approach this differently. I at least in terms of people of differing abilities, that, that is easy enough that when we are, when folks offered to volunteer, were able to coordinate, like how much, how much support do you want? What tasks do you feel comfortable doing? That's easy enough to do. In terms of physical accessibility for space that can be harder. We have tried to put infrastructure together to get things like waist height bed, like Lap height raised bed gardening. For people who have mobility access problems, that they can do work while standing or sitting. We haven't put that into place though. yet And that's that's an area that I want to expand into. I've been talking with a friend about possibly doing a workshop on building like those sorts of raised bed gardens. And then like doing classes on accessibility. That's something that I'm looking forward to in the future. Time. And there are other parts of the question that I think I'm missing. [Abby] I think it was just about in general, how do you create space for folks who might be new or not have confidence or have varying levels of ability. And I think so much of it is what you shared about just giving the decision-making power to the the folks who asked for that, right, rather than assuming that we know or intentionally limiting somebody's ability to engage because we assume something about their ability to engage. It's, it's offering them the opportunity to say, you know, what are you comfortable doing? How do you want to be supported and how do you want to engage in a project? I think it's, uh, it's such a tiny shift, but it is so different in how it can empower people to be able to own you know, what they need and what they can do versus kind of taking that choice away. and then building in those structures so that more people have more opportunities for. [Morgan] I like the way that you phrased that, it's just like a shift in thinking because it is very easy. And I see this more with like commercial operations. Thinking of volunteers as people who are here specifically to provide a service for you. Commercial business, which is a pretty arrogant way of going into a relationship. So so far anytime people have wanted to volunteer, I mean, you could say I have this task. Show up on this day. I'll give you supplies and you can do this thing. I would much rather say, you know, what work are you interested in doing? We have opportunities for people who want to be like in the dirt. We have opportunities for people who want to build things. Is there a project that interest to you? Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Yeah. Yeah. [Abby] And of course, like you said, too, still valuing your own time and labor and not just ignoring that piece as well, but finding that space in the middle that fits everybody's needs. [Morgan] There was another hand wanted to say too, which is that I have been gardening most of my life. And also, I absolutely feel like a beginner. And that's not like me being humble, like, I'm not great at this. I think most people who think they're great at things ... are maybe overestimating their abilities... [Abby] or are maybe in that first year beginner's luck where everything's magical and produces and then you don't realize all the other things. I don't know. [Morgan] And I hope I'm still going to feel like a beginner when I'm very, very old. Because knowing things is a real interactive iterative process. Like you can't control it. you're going to be learning new things, both from the things you're doing and the places are going, people you're going with. And so being able to make sure that people who are new to this work can see that like you're always knew. Like everyone can feel inviting. [Isabel] I was just gonna say gardening I think, is taking into context for a large system that you're working in, right? And there's always going to be things beyond you and what you want to control. And I think it is totally humbling and I think we're probably going to be beginners for the rest of our lives. No matter how hard you try this. [Morgan] I mean, every winter, I think that I've solved it. [Isabel] that's a good feeling to hold in the winter, I don't know because it gets you through winters. [Abby} So I think we should probably wrap it up for the day. We're so grateful for your time, Morgan, and for sharing with us and joining us today. It feels like a little, a little warm burst in a very cold day. We like to end just by asking folks what you're looking forward to in 2021 about your garden perhaps or something and relation to your garden but what's something that you're looking forward to in 2021? [Morgan] I'm looking forward to seeing people in my garden in 2021. Most. While I was out at Fenner with Julia, Julia Kramer this past weekend. 9Whoops, sorry, my dog Keeps wanting to bark next to me. She sounds kinda like a dragon.) It is at such a prominent spot in Fenner that people walk by and they just kept coming in and talking to us and asking questions and it was the best feeling. I just want to talk to every single person in the entire world this summer. [Abby] Seeing table from the waist down, you know, it's like I'm that colleagues the other day and I was like, "you're taller than I thought you were" because I've only... I don't know how tall anyone is. I think it's definitely a source of hope that we might be able to share more time with people in person and just having those casual conversations and walking with Ryan and being able to chat. So all right. Well, I think we're going to end it there for today. [Morgan] Thank you so much. I mean, yes. Lovely. Yeah. [Abby] We'll share so many resources and the follow-up, including some of the resources that you mentioned, some information about your projects. And just answer a couple questions that we didn't get to. Appreciate you all. Thank you. Everybody who joined us today have a great weekend. I think of them in Michigan. We're getting into the seventies next week. So some "Hands in the Dirt" time. And as always, thank you Rachel, too, for being with us here tonight. All right. Thanks, everybody. Take care. Bye. Thanks. Bye.
 
 

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