We had several people over today to help in the garden. They were fulfilling an assignment for school by helping us. And we were giving them the opportunity to see how food is grown. It was fun. There were some great people who got a whole lot of work done. And with lots of people around, I thought it was fun. I only hope that they had as much fun as I did.
Here’s the thing. I like having people over to help and working with people. If someone else had a farm and asked me to help, I generally would love to because I like to socialize (despite the fact that I’m exceptionally bad at it). I want our farm to be a place were we have activities and people come to enjoy good company. I want people to come and be willing to work for awhile (big groups can get a lot done quickly) and then socialize and enjoy roasting stuff over a campfire and playing dumb lawn games and just relaxing and talking. I want to create a place that fosters activities like that.
The problem is, that our society doesn’t tend to embrace hanging out and socializing. We’re all scheduled to the max and have little free time. And if we do have free time we generally don’t go out of our way to ‘intrude’ on others’ space. I want to create a space where people feel free to stop by and hang out and talk… as long as they don’t mind talking while weeding a row of carrots. Or if you want to be alone, you can come to our place and walk around with a shovel and dig up weeds. It’s not hard work, it’s just a lot of wandering looking for the nasty weeds that we’re trying to eradicate. And if you really don’t want to work, you don’t have to. Feel free to follow me around and talk while I get stuff done. That doesn’t bother me at all.
How do you create a place where people feel comfortable just stopping by? How do you create a place where people come to socialize, to help and to build community? How do you build community when people don’t really put themselves out there to join into things?
Maybe this is why I was never the ‘cool’ kid. I have no idea how to do this stuff. I say, “go ahead and stop by anytime” and all I get are laughs or polite refusals. I suppose we’ll just keep trying.