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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – September 3

One of the stops that our Garden Writer’s (GWA) group made in Indiana was at a slow foods garden. I was especially enamored with the windmill that read “Growing Places, Indy”. It had some traditional elements of the wind powered structures that have pumped water on farms and ranches all over the United States, but it went beyond those conventional structures in an artistic, sculptural manner.

Going through my photographs today I was once again delighted by this image, especially after reading some on-line posts by other garden communicators who are unhappy about the choice of Arizona as the GWA symposium sight for next year. Some not only expressed their reluctance to go the conference at all, but said that they would boycott vendors who choose to show their products there.

My first reaction was a head shaking because it was clear that these people don’t understand how the planning of such large conventions work. Hotels and meeting rooms must be negotiated and locked in two to three years in advance. The Arizona site was chosen and booked long before the state’s governor and legislator decided to enact stringent laws on immigration. Location selections can’t be turned on a dime.

Secondly, to my mind it’s just wrong to punish those good working people, the convention vendors, hotel employees and wait staff that such meetings support. I plan to go to this meeting in AZ, but hope to find a way to also express my support of all of those who have worked hard to achieve the American dream, legal or not.

Farm workers have traditionally cultivated more than food in this country, so garden communicators rightly feel a connection to those who cross borders seeking growing places in all implications of that phrase.

The windmill over the Indianapolis garden reminds me that America has long been a place where creativity has flourished. Plant me among those who abhor the Arizona laws but support the nurturing of imagination, tolerance and working people.

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