Good day inspired daily actors!

Yowza, the fruits and veggies are plumping up and fall is nearly here. To match even the sun-ripened sweetness in your garden, we have tantalizing treats to grow you more water wise, food system aware and community connected. So what are these fabulous ways to live your inspiration? First, join us this week for a short tour and introduction to Daily Acts with Trathen; tune into a Bioneers webinar with Trathen and Severine Fleming on Community and Food System Resilience or come out to the DIY Drought Solutions Extravaganza. Second, join our team, Daily Acts is hiring. Lastly, spread the love and donate to our Campaign for Community Transformation. Hope to see you soon.

The other night I was utilizing the simplest of our three greywater systems, carrying a jug from sink to garden while harvesting our first Fairtime peaches from a bumper curbside crop. Laurie from across the street was gardening as well and gave a shout to introduce some new neighbors that just moved in. I was excited to hear that they were interested in permaculture landscaping to further feed the front yard food movement spreading like wildflowers through our neighborhood, city and county. Across from where we were standing is the Cavanagh Center Food Forest, which has been a buzz of exciting activity as community partner Mentor Me Petaluma just moved in.

Though as is the way of things, life keeps coming and going. Just as we welcomed new neighbors, earlier that day I said goodbye to Roger Gadow at his memorial. Roger was a treasured neighbor, mentor and friend. He knew and saw everything and taught me much about gardening, homesteading and life. And he LOVED harassing me when I didn’t thin our peaches or prune a tree enough, or when our veggie starts dried and died on our potting bench. Roger was kind of like the dandelion greens in our garden, highly nutritious and medicinal, though a bit sharp tasting with rough edges.

Roger has been a staple on not just our porch, but at Daily Acts tours and Cavanagh Center workshops, having shaped and grafted the espalier apple trees there. At the memorial I was blown away to hear his son Paul say that seeing his dad on a Daily Acts tour, sharing his knowledge and garden was a true high point for him, giving Paul a profound appreciation for his father’s gifts.

As many folks know, a big part of what got me fermenting beer, cider and mead was the 400+ lbs. of recycling I weighed one year, knowing I needed to start refilling bottles instead of recycling them. So I remember with great joy how about that time Roger would share the wine he made from grapes that shaded his windows in the summer and how he’d take his bottles back to refill them. I thought this is the dream, a neighbor sharing homemade wine and taking his bottles back to refill and enjoy again and again. Beyond his vast gardening skills and knowledge, Roger was an incredible neighbor, always keeping an eye out for folks. He was the first one to stop by when a new family moved in. He taught many of us when to get our veggie starts in, how to graft our trees or even turn one tree into ten through grafting onto pieces of root stock. One of the many varieties of plums I grafted I just call Roger’s Red. Roger was 70 and he told me about how back in the day he asked an old timer what this plum was and he didn’t even know. Though he thought it was one of the trees from the orchards that were here before our homes 100 or so years ago.

And so through grafting, practicing and sharing what we learn in the garden and refilling old wine bottles, we keep our favorite fruits and people alive in our hearts and gardens. When we help our new neighbors install their garden, like we did with Laurie’s, we’ll surely provide plants and grafts from friends trees and gardens, maybe pass on a bit of wisdom gleaned from Roger. When we’re working with folks at the Cavanagh Center garden, or harvesting apples from his espalier, it’ll be the same.

Yes, having a garden saves resources and provides nutritious food, but it’s also about the community we build, how we help each other and enrich each other’s lives. Author Jim Hunter wrote, “the test of servant leadership is, do people leave you better than they found you? Do you leave things better than you found them?” He went on to write about how leadership is the mark we leave and that once we start working on our stuff and our lives, the world changes. People and life respond to us differently. While he never would have called himself a leader, Roger left our neighborhood, our community, and me better than he found us.

To see and taste a bit of Roger’s handiwork, and get some inspiration and support on how to leave your best mark on the people and places you love, swing by our place on Thursday, or join Severine Fleming and myself on Friday for a Bioneers Community and Food System Resilience webinar.