It’s been an honor to have been a part, even in a very humble way, of Gathering Ground’s first year and to watch it — like one watches a child — take its first steps, make its presence known, and, also like a child, be embraced by the community. Who would have guessed that an idea — to bring people and place and nourishing food together — would so quickly take root, elicit the gift of a home (a beautiful, abundant home), and a following.
When a family adds a child, it forgets what life was like before the child arrived. I hope that is what happens with Gathering Ground. That the Island will wonder what it did before Gathering Ground offered its cornucopia of fresh radishes and tomatoes and micro greens and flowers. I hope people will look back incredulously — like we do now when we say, “Remember when all lettuce was iceberg and all coffee was Sanka and all vegetables came out of a can?”– and say, “Remember those years when most of our produce came over on the ferry?”
I have to admit that most of what’s happened at Gathering Ground this first year has happened as my attention was turned elsewhere. Yet, a few key images stick in my mind that say a lot, to me, about what Gathering Ground is. First is the people gathered, laughing and talking, around the long, food-laden potluck table (with its tureen of homemade squash soup!) stretched out in the vineyard in the late afternoon, early evening sun. Second is Russell speaking, at that same potluck, stating so simply, “We’re trying to cultivate in a way that reduces harm. We want to be on the same team as the earth.” And finally, I recall Alessandra’s generosity — a posy or a warm tomato, always something, pressed into the palm of every hand at the Farmers Market.