Who Says all You Do at CYM is Sit in Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business?

After nearly three rather sedentary days at Canadian Yearly Meeting, mostly in meetings, Wednesday afternoon was a welcomed break. This was our service project time. This year we were offered a choice of two activities: tree planting or helping out at the Charlottetown Farm Centre Legacy Garden. I chose to work at the Garden.

The entire Garden covers an area of ten acres. The one-acre production area of the Garden supplies the food bank, homeless and women’s shelters with organic produce. The neighbouring acre of land is divided up into community gardens, lovingly tended by some 80 gardeners, who supplement their diet in this way. Further afield orchards are being set up.

About seven or eight adult Friends, of a wide range of ages, set off to the Garden on the 10-minute walk down the Trans-Canada trail in the mid-afternoon sun. We were then joined by some of the children participating in the children’s program.

After a short introduction to the Garden, we were shown some very long rows of beans and asked to pull out the lamb’s quarters and the mustard but ignore the other weeds. These two plants towered above the beans themselves, some being almost as tall as the smallest children, preventing the beans’ proper growth. The mustard was also rather deep-rooted and quite a tussle to pull out.

It was hard for the gardeners among us not to disobey our instructions as we were tempted to also weed out the thick growth of weeds around the base of the bean plants. When our time was up, we watered some drooping squash growing out of bales of straw and then liberally sprayed ourselves with the hose pipe to wash off the dry dusty red PEI soil.

We straggled back down the trail, late for supper, but at least feeling that we had fully earned it.

Wednesday supper  at CYM is a simple meal. This is the third CYM at which there has been a simple supper, which is part of a charitable project. The idea is that Friends are offered plain fare but pay the regular price. The money collected then goes to a charitable organization. In this case, PEI Friends chose the charity. The meal – lentil stew and an orange – was not only simple, but also tasty, especially to the famished gardeners.


Sheila Havard

Coldstream Monthly Meeting