When a seed is planted in soil, the first part of the plant that forms is the roots. The seed must hold itself in place before it begins to break through the ground and into the open air. Even a little sapling will have a healthy root system to keep it in place—a foundation to help it flourish. After that, all it takes is patience, kindness, knowledge, and a nurturing spirit to help that sapling grow into a healthy tree and bear fruit and seed for the next generation. Then the process can repeat, and people are connected because of it.
That’s exactly what Gateway Greening is built on. They believe that community driven agriculture projects, including gardens and orchards, have the ability to connect people to the land, to their food, and to each other. This very vision has become more of a rarity especially now, as we have all been affected by the tribulations that COVID-19 has brought down on us.
Founded in 1983 by Sue Reed and Kitty Hoblitzelle, Gateway Greening has worked tirelessly to connect the city via the citizens’ budding connections with the earth. Only ten years ago, the organization surpassed 200 gardens within the greater St. Louis area.
Gateway Greening has extended multiple hands to groups across St. Louis that want to do everything from starting their own community gardens to just learning how gardening works. As of right now, they’ve recently passed their 30th anniversary and are still going strong. They have many programs that encourage learning about gardening and using those skills to ensure a tight-knitted, deeply rooted future. These programs encompass all ages, from building a community garden in a neighborhood to making their own curriculum—Seed to STEM—for grade school students. They even have a program for local libraries, literally combining gardening with knowledge.
In a way, this gives Gateway Greening a unique weapon against the isolation of COVID. Their 200 gardens are strewn across the city, growing and thriving with the help of the people they’ve educated. Even through social distancing, their message continues to be heard and practiced.
And if quarantine has taught us anything, it’s that we are a community willing to join hands and fight together. For this month’s STL 50/50 Charity Raffle, we could not be more honored to support Gateway Greening. Not only do they know how to connect and support the people of St. Louis, but they also teach us more about giving love to the earth.