by Gretta Bradley

Horse S**T. Whaaat? Should I open it? Was it another of those emails trying to trick me into clicking on the link to “update my personal information”. The recipient’s line read: David Hinks, Gerda Franssen, Jeff Mills, Frank S, Glennis Harwig. A few dodgy characters there, but the majority were respected members of the community. The message read; “Thank you Frank – that is truly a huge amount of s**t. Your generosity (as well as that of Margot (and the horses as well) is greatly appreciated!!!” Three exclamations marks! Who would have thought that that this crowd of mostly grey- haired gardeners would get so excited about horse (one suggested Percheron) effluent.

This was another case of ABCD, Asset Based Community Development in action. ABCD is based on the idea- Ask your neighbour, they want to help. I would like to add the phrase, they just may not know it yet. Let it slip that you worked with data bases and that information is tucked away until one of our local merchants needs technical help to handle her growing business. Casually mention that you own a rake, and all of a sudden you are a Tomato Head Community Gardner contributing fresh produce to the Lanark Food Bank. We needed manure and Frank and Margot’s horses had it. I have to admit this was a high water mark (at the very least knee deep) in our organization. We had managed to enlist the help of the horses. Obviously, no one is exempt.

The Tomato Head Community Gardeners needs are modest. The basics really- a woven willow fence, a shed in which to store tools, and a steady water supply to the gardens. Importantly, it is our goal to have our garden accessible to the whole community. That means raised beds and walkway. If you have expertise, time, a willow tree that needs pruning, a backhoe, pipe, a truck, a trailer, a shovel, hay, stone dust, a lumber and/or hardware store, a horse, or even extra money for which you have no need, contact us. So if you can help, or you know someone who can help, or if you know someone who knows someone who can help, please get in touch with Jeff Mills, Coordinator Community Development Mills Community Support,

You are invited to visit the gardens at Augusta Park (end of Augusta Street) or behind the Almonte Library (155 High Street). See what your neighbours are up to and be ready to get your hands dirty. We would love to see you.