Boilermaker Blog

Lessons Learned in a Garden – Rebecca Kearns, Boilermaker Community Outreach Director


To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ~ Audrey Hepburn

BUG Tomato

I have learned more about gardening in the past two years here at the Boilermaker than I ever learned in the years of my life before taking this position. More so than that, I have learned how gardening is clearly a metaphor for life.

Yes, the “big picture” can be summed up in dirt. A successful bounty starts with great dirt! Umm, sorry, soil. Your soil needs nutrients, microbes to move around, a balance of moisture and warmth and other odds and ends. You need to tend to your soil and get dirty! That is your foundation.

In to your soil, your foundation, goes your seeds. These seeds, you have faith will grow, are dependent upon the all that surrounds it (people, weather, animals, etc.), and at the mercy of the aforementioned.

Wait. What? At the mercy of? Yes. Best laid plans and intentions can be undone with a stretch of time with no rain, or too much, for example! People can forget to weed (or simply not take the time), you see where I am going. If your foundation is good and your follow through is great, you will inevitably reap what you sow. It will take time and it doesn’t always look like you are going to reap anything. And therein lies the first lesson: have faith in what you are doing even if you don’t yet see the reward and be diligent in your work.

The Boilermaker Road Race was grown in good soil. We had a single idea, a seed, if you will, to create an amazing race. 41 years running proves that was fertile soil and we’ve reaped the joy of successful events! Looking over our success and how it’s impacted our community we felt it was time to expand our “garden”. Which brings us to lesson two: share your harvest with your neighbors.

We’ve been working diligently at creating a solid foundation to grow a year-round presences in our community. Much like starting that garden we know with the right care and thought it will produce a positive impact but it takes time. The Boilermaker grew steadily over 41 years and our community outreach will too.

In the meantime we have taken our literal harvest and shared it with Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen. When we talk about “Boilermaker Nation” we mean our ENTIRE community. How can we do good things here if don’t start with small gestures of kindness and health?

Volunteers at Mother Marianne's West Side Kitchen

Volunteers at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen

How does our garden grow? Hard work, attention to detail, water, patience and willingness to share. How about yours?

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