I popped into the kitchen to make dinner tonight and was met with a faint unpleasant smell. Since we compost and have a lot of produce in our kitchen, odd smells aren’t uncommon, but never fun. So I ignored it and hoped the situation would resolve itself. Which never, ever happens with kitchen smells.
An hour later I returned to the kitchen to find the smell markedly worse. Sighing, I finally admitted to myself that I would have to hunt down and take care of the kitchen smell. I began walking around the kitchen sniffing things like some sort of rot-sniffing dog. Finally I came upon our basket of about a thousand zucchini from our garden. The smell was definitely located somewhere in the basket. I reached in to pull the top zucchini off to find the culprit and, to my surprise, my hand went right through the zucchini skin, squirting a horrible smelling, brown liquid everywhere. In my shock I yelled (to no one in particular, as I was the only one home), “The zucchini! The zucchini are liquefying!”
Well, dang. It’s embarrassing to admit how often produce from our garden goes bad. There’s just so much of it. We like to call our garden a “community garden” and, to be fair, we do share quite a lot of produce with App State students. But in terms of being a place where the community of Todd gets produce, half the people we know here are farmers or have some sort of garden themselves. So the need for produce from our community garden just isn’t that obvious. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are places that would love to take our produce, we just haven’t been able to connect with them yet.
This is something we’re figuring out as we go along. The “felt needs” of the community. Fresh produce just doesn’t seem to be one of the pressing needs here. These felt needs are things we can’t anticipate and can only learn through the long slow process of immersing ourselves in Todd and hoping that people might trust us enough to share those with us and allow us to share ours with them. Since we’ve only been here a few months, we have a long way to go, but I’m thankful to have the partners I have both in the house and the church, to walk with us.
I toyed with putting up a picture of the liquefied zucchini, but in the end decided against it. Readers, you’re welcome.