This time last year, while digging potatoes with my kids at Rangely Community Gardens, my children and I were amazed as we watched sustenance emerge from the ground.
I was thinking about the good things in my life: my family, the intimacy and warmth of this small town that has nourished me through early motherhood, how grateful I am to have meaningful work for my hands, and the beauty and bounty of the creation around me.
The seed of an idea began to grow and I imagined our community gathering at the garden eating soup made from the produce grown here out of handmade bowls (I am a potter.) Then, I thought, we could use that gathering to raise money to support others.
My little pipe dream would have ended there, except I shared it with a few friends. “What do you think? Will you help me?” I asked. These amazing women, who have been friends and supporters and role models jumped on board and helped make it happen.
The Harvest Bowls Festival, a community dinner and fundraiser held last Thursday, where participants ate soup made from local produce and meat out of handmade, collaboratively decorated bowls, was the culmination of almost a year of planning and work by many people.
What began as an idea germinated into a scheme among friends, leafed out into a group of supporters and bloomed into an event supported by 25 business and individual sponsors, and more than 60 volunteers, organizations and in-kind donors.
It bore fruit as we feasted together. As we celebrated the harvest, I hope that whatever seeds that were scattered to the wind find fertile soil to put down roots.
Thank you, from the bottom of my tap-root, to Jen Aplanalp, Julie Noyes and Heather Zadra, my organizing team, for believing in the idea and working tirelessly to bring it to fruition, roping in family and friends to help along the way.
Thank you also to our sponsors for funding the project freely and generously, and to everyone in our community who helped and participated. Together we raised approximately $7,000 to be divided between five worthy organizations: New Eden Pregnancy Services, Rangely Moms, Giant Step Preschool and Childcare Center, the Rangely Community Gardens and Help One Now (a global relief organization through which we are helping to fund a project to build a home and provide an income source for a widow and her vulnerable children.)
Elizabeth Robinson Wiley