As we move beyond the winter solstice and head back to sunnier days, enjoy this brief piece about one of our gardeners.

Barb Parisien started gardening at the Celeste’s Dream Community Garden in 2006, and has returned every year. Rain or shine, warm or chilly, Barb is there every Tuesday night during the growing season.  

“Every year is just a little bit different,” she says, but the sense of community and camaraderie among the gardeners keeps her coming back year after year. Barb also appreciates that there’s always more to learn in the garden, and not just about plants and soil. She didn’t realize food insecurity was a growing issue on college campuses until the Celeste’s Dream Community Garden started donating produce to the St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Access Hub (formerly known as the St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Shelf). Being a part of Celeste’s Dream’s food justice work was eye-opening for her.  

Barb is an artist. While she does have a home studio for her painting practice, she also brings her artistic talents to the garden. She starts marigold and zinnia seedlings in her home in the spring and brings them to the garden at the start of the season to make the plot of land visually attractive as well as productive. However, she does face challenges. 

“What do I like the least? When the weeds take over,” she says. But despite the weeds, gardening is a deeply spiritual practice for Barb. Working with plants and soil prompts her to contemplate the circle of life, death and rebirth. She also sees gardening as an opportunity to talk with God. 

“God is in the garden,” says Barb. “I’m down on my knees and praying. I might be planting seedlings, but to me that’s a form of prayer.”  

Thank you, Barb, for all the beauty you bring to our garden community! 

December 22nd, 2021