Dear Partners in Green,

This April’s Seedling is courtesy of Pat James, the Community Garden Manager for Grow Food Northampton, a non-profit organization that operates a large organic community garden in Western Massachusetts.

Thank you, Pat!

“They thought they could bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
                                          Proverb based on a poem by Dinos Christianopolous

It’s seed season. Some of us thumb through seed catalogs, nurturing dreams of summer goodness. Some of us already have sunny windowsills lined with our hopes for tomatoes and basil. Some wait for the good work of farmers who start our seedlings for us.

“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. The harvest can either be flowers or weeds,” said poet William Wordsworth. Sometimes this past year, the garden of my mind has been weedy and would not pass a plot check-in our Community Garden! If I could name those weeds, the most common one would be Pandemus avidus, common name, pandemic impatience. It is growing prolifically alongside its close relative, Pandemus iracundias, pandemic irritability.

This spring I’m planting some new seeds, all in the genus Spem. Hopefulness.

But seed starting can be a brutal business. “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli

Even when our seeds sprout, we don’t let them all survive. We pinch back those that are weak or undeveloped, leaving one robust seedling in each little pot. Those we water tenderly and make sure they have the right amounts of warmth and light. As my seeds of hopefulness break out of their shells and develop their first fragile roots, I know I must pinch back the doubtful seedlings that are unlikely to bear fruit, making room for those that will. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which.

As we enter year two of the pandemic at the Grow Food Northampton Organic Community Garden, we will still be wearing masks and maintaining safe distances. The composting outhouse will remain closed. Gatherings will remain small, masked, and distanced. Even so, we will grow healing food and flowers. We will savor the cool mornings and hot afternoons tending our plots, greeting neighbors, and savoring the beauty of our gardens and our time together in a place that for many is both safe and sacred.

Perhaps we feel buried by the stresses of the past year, completely undone and maybe a little cracked. But we too are seeds, and spring is coming.

Pat James

Now Spring has arrived!

  • This is the perfect month to seek out a Community Supported Agriculture Farm and join as a family, or team up with a friend;
  • or a month to garden a plot in your own yard or on your windowsill, or sign up for space in a community garden.
  • And it is a good month, as is each month, to give to your local Food Bank.
  • And a perfect month just to feel gratitude that finally, it is Spring and, yes, that hope will take root.

A hope-filled song for the season. Music lyrics written by David Mallett and performed by David Grover and the Big Bear Band, joined by the chorus of Centennial Elementary Students.


Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones.

Thank you for being on this journey.

Till next time,