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Congratulations to the Groton Garden Club for the recent unveiling of their website, found alongside other resources listed on Groton Local’s new and improved website, www.grotonlocal.org.

As an avid gardener and fellow Grotonian, I just have a few thoughts and humble suggestions.

Article III, Section 1. Size; Membership is capped at 55 active members.

OK, this seems like a gross underestimate of what a town of 10,000 people — the largest town in Middlesex County (32 square miles) — might have the potential to generate in interest and active participation regarding the beautification and stewardship of our town’s many public (and private) parks, gardens, school grounds, fairgrounds, etc. More importantly, though, is the notion that somehow gardening for the town, on its public properties that we all share in stewarding and paying taxes for, is somehow the privilege of the lucky 55, and not open to as many people as would take an interest in restoring, regenerating, cultivating and learning together the art of gardening and growing.

On so many levels, this membership cap is a dated mode of governance that falls far short of where we need to be going with respect to actively engaging the community toward a shared (post-elitist) model of gardening in a community that will prosper in direct relationship to the number of hands relishing in the act of getting down in the dirt, so to speak.

Article III, Section 2. Candidates for membership shall make application through the membership committee and be voted on by the executive board.

Isn’t this a bit highfalutin and kind of unnecessary red tape? If you would like to garden for your community and want to be a helpful member, shouldn’t it be a foregone conclusion that you are, of course, welcomed with open arms? What if the executive board were Mother Earth herself? What if we made Her executive club president, in perpetuity? I think She would laugh, as She does in a profusion of flowers, at the thought of turning anyone away from the possibility of lending a loving hand toward her preservation.

Article III, Section 4. Waiting list: After the active membership cap is reached, there will be a waiting list for new members, transfers and reinstatements.

Wow. Isn’t this a rather impudent and dangerous waste of time? All those would-be gardeners, for lack of space in the club parameters, could have been making great progress in a myriad of public-garden endeavors. It’s such a shame! With regard to the very different circumstances that climate change, declining reserves of nonrenewable resources, mass species extinction, oceanic acidification and death, and declining food security place on our future, isn’t a waiting list an unnecessary impediment to community progress toward greater awareness and solution-seeking activities in the ebullience and sustenance associated with gardening? The charter, created almost a 100 years ago, is out of step with the needs of today’s community, and the challenging, changing times ahead.

Sect B, Section I. After seven years of active membership, a member may apply for sustaining membership through the executive board, which will then vote on the application.

Sect B, Section II. Sustaining members shall pay higher dues than active members. They shall be exempt from active work but share in all other rights and privileges of membership.

I don’t know, these two just leave a bad taste in my mouth. It kind of relishes in hierarchy, and it speaks to the decline of social and creative capital in our society, so displaced and devalued have they become in the long ascension of money. I hope I will be hobbling around in my gardens until the very last, age and infirmity be damned.

Article VI Section I. Committees. Committees shall reflect the interests and commitments of the club.

Aside from the mootness of this point, with all due respect, shouldn’t the committees, while crafting plans for the care of public land, reflect the interests and commitments of the community? I guess that would mean that the club would have to first open-heartedly accept the community (uncap club membership) before it can adequately reflect its interests and commitments.

Article II: Purpose. The purpose of this club shall be to encourage and promote interest in and the development of all aspects of gardening.

OK, this is too narrow, in my opinion. How about … “To promote the active engagement and participation of the community of Groton in all aspects of gardening, land and resource stewardship, regenerative agriculture, et cetera.” However it is more inclusively worded, the definition and mission could be expanded to reflect the needs of the community. How about changing the title of Groton Garden Club to the Groton Garden Collective? Isn’t that much friendlier, inclusive and productive-sounding?

GGC Tidbits: final thoughts, and some quotes of note (form in keeping with GGC policy on email correspondence: “When an email contains general information that a member would like to share with other garden club members, the subject line will say “GGC Tidbits” and will also include the subject matter.”)

As we look forward to spring, as we pine over seed catalogues and wait for the earth in this New England neighborhood to thaw enough for us to reach our clumsy, but learning hands into Her mantle, I hope you will consider my suggestions. From one gardener to another, we love the many forms and mysteries of the activity, and would share in it with as many people as possible, building and growing resilience toward a common, food-and-garden secure future, as soon as possible. For, if we consider the gravity of our situation, and the critical state that Nature, and hence we, are in, we realize that we have no time to waste in bringing about a collective reassessment and redesign of our clubs, institutions and commissions. Let us dispense with the antiquated and elitist policies and modes of governing which, in obstinate deletion of Mother Nature from their bylaws and balance sheets, have helped to bring about the community apathy and disengagement which has become such an impediment toward progress and sustainability. And, all the while, Mother Nature is quietly deleting all of our data, permanently. It is time for a new paradigm.

“Creativity, Fulfillment, Connection, Revolution; it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt.” — H.C. Flores from her book, “Food Not Lawns; How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community.”

So, can I join the club?

LISA WIESNER

Groton