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Sow seeds of goodness beyond your garden (part 1)

The garden is, by now, the place in which we spend most of our time. So much so, that sometimes we forget there is a whole world out there that needs tending to as well.

Whilst walking around our city today, we happily remember how full of parks and trees it is. However, these seem to be quite left to themselves. It is apparent that water is scarce, both in terms of rains as well as in actual watering. In fact, the grounds are dry and the young trees are slowly withering.

Since the concept of community garden – or community green – is not very common here yet, we decide to do something on our own to help “the greens”.

We choose our target: the little trees along a bike path near our home. The girls and I have counted these trees on our walks many times. They are 47, and run along a bath path of 800 meters (3/4 of a mile). And today, we count 11 trees starting to wither.

We hurry home and grab our water tanks. Each one holds 18 litres, or about 5 gallons. We fill them up with the rainwater we have been collecting during the year. Then we load the car.

The bike path is partly uphill and partly downhill, so we need to figure out how to get these heavy tanks around. There is only one parking spot along the path, and it’s about halfway between the hills. We know we are in for heavy lifting and serious rolling. And that is just one extra thing to make the experience even more memorable! (Check this link out for the awesome workout caught live on camera!).

Once we arrive at our destination, we park alongside the path and unload the water. We roll it around to the first trees. We figure about 9 litres for each tree will do. Some quick math tells us this means 3 tanks will water 6 trees. We will therefore have to go back and forth for refills 8 times.

Each tree luckily has its own little irrigation tube next to it (see picture above). So, for every tree, we water the ground and fill up the tube as much as we can. The water stored in the tube should last about a week.

We continue. Up and down, up and down. We’re at 12 count. More refill trips to make, more lifting – and more water bringing the trees back to life.

At 30 count, we stop for the day. Exhausted but happy, we head home.

In the evening, we post our pictures on the Planting Goodness Facebook page. Just for the sake of it, we decide to circulate the recap of the day, the photos and the videos to the various city-specific Facebook groups we belong to. We add a line asking for volunteers willing to join the second watering round on July 15th. We figure each person needs to bring a six-pack of water (9 liters), since not everyone has a rainwater gathering system at home. This would amount to a 1 Euro purchase at the supermarket and would be enough tower one tree.

In a matter of an hour, the post has reached more than 5,000 people! And an incredible number of readers has accepted the invite for the next watering session. This is getting so exciting it is quite tough to go to sleep!

The following evening, we find 3 more water tanks. We fill them up and finish the job.

Nothing gets close to describing what we feel now. Knowing these trees will be able to live a little while longer is a blessing. We’re really “walking on sunshine”!

The best part of it all, though, is the immense feeling of brotherhood that has developed through just a few pictures and a few words.

People truly are good. They want to participate in something bigger than themselves. They want to leave a better world for their children, since they care about the good Earth.

And we learn that – sometimes – it’s just a matter of finding the courage and the strength to cast that little rock into the ocean. You never know, it might just as well generate a tsunami of goodness.

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”Henry David Thoreau

Ps. Stay tuned for the second round of watering – this time with many fellow citizens. It’s scheduled for July 15th!



Michelle Calcatelli

Michelle Calcatelli

Hi there! My name is Michelle. I'm an American living in Italy, mom of two girls, a lover of travel, music and good food shared with loved ones. I am a freelance grant writer and a former agricultural development practitioner, having worked mostly in rural Africa for 18 years. I look forward to creating a space here - with your help - where we can exchange dreams, ideas and kindness to start shaping a better tomorrow.

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