One of the first things I do when returning to Pewamo on the weekends is to check the garden. Is my marigold rabbit defense system working? Are there any new zucchini? Are the tomato plants dead yet? Is that a broccoli plant or a brussel sprouts plant? Although I helped with a very large garden on the farm growing up, I’ve never had space since then to try a garden of my own…..a fact that is perhaps painfully obvious when you look at my current garden! Despite the hot and dry conditions and with the help of neighbors, I will persist, though, in tending to my little space. Of course, I am also making notes about things to do differently next year. Note to self #1: plant only one zucchini!
Tending a garden is similar in many ways to doing community-based health research, like CoSAGE. Both efforts require the right conditions, ongoing attention, and nurturing. Both efforts also require patience. A seed takes time to sprout, grow, and ultimately yield fruit. A community-based and community-driven research project also takes time to sprout (i.e. develop and refine research ideas), grow (i.e. obtain funding and implement a research project) and yield fruit (i.e. discover new things that can improve health and well-being for the PFW community and beyond). The first 18 months of CoSAGE were focused on sprouting new ideas---- our short and long term goals as well as deciding how our community-academic partnership might best work. Over the last two years these ideas have definitely been sprouting, as we implement the Community Assessment and Research Participant Registry, in particular. The extent to which the CoSAGE project bears fruit rests partly on the extent of the communities’ participation in the research. We hope you will stop by our booth at the Most Holy Trinity festival this weekend to talk about the CoSAGE project and what it might mean for you!
Perhaps together we can produce a bountiful harvest of discovery and improved health.....not to mention zucchinis!