Thoughts on Luffa Gourds and Gardening

A Reflection by Community Gardens Manager Hannah Patrick

The first person I ever met who grew their own luffa gourds was a permaculture instructor from Charleston, South Carolina. They lived in a small house in an urban neighborhood but they grew food in their yard, had chickens, and the inside of their house still felt somehow like being outside.

It was a transformative experience for me to see how they lived. They did things the “slow” way; planting, tending, harvesting a garden. But through their patience and hard work, they created abundance. THEY CREATED IT. At that point in my life, I was 21 years old and straight out of college. I barely knew how to feed myself a decent meal. (I was eating mostly condiments and rice at the time.) I had only ever been a dependent, a student, or a consumer. Watching someone wash their dishes with a sponge they had grown themselves transformed my life.

There’s a saying that “everybody wants a revolution but nobody wants to do the dishes." I take that to mean: Everyone wants big changes but no one wants to do the banal, everyday work that needs to be done in order for these big changes to happen.

Like growing their own garden. Weeding it, watering it, watching it. And then when the harvest comes: picking, preparing, pickling. It’s so much work! But it is enjoyable work -- and there is so much love to be found and shared along the way.

So grow your own luffa gourds everyone! And do the dishes!

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