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Volunteer of the Month July 2015 – Leah Byskal

Did you know Issaquah Highlands has a community garden? With 100+ patches for lease spread throughout two locations in the community, residents are able to reap the rewards of urban farming.

When I discovered the garden, I jumped at the chance to dig in the dirt.  For the past three years, I’ve worked my small patch of land and served on the Community Garden Committee. I’ve watched in amazement at how the community garden continues to bring residents together to share produce, swap tips and aid one another.

Serving on the Community Garden Committee has been a natural extension of my love of gardening and this community.  Moderating the garden’s Facebook group, tracking member volunteer hours, and acting as a liaison to gardeners new and old is a wonderful way for me connect with my community.  Volunteering at the annual work parties where gardeners gather to pull weeds, lay rock and mend fencing has been a great way to meet the members of neighboring patches.  It’s wonderful to see a whole family come out, as children are often eager to help.  Our 1.5-year-old daughter helps out by spotting pests and watering the plants. She loves visiting the garden. In fact, her first solid food was vegetable purées made from our very patch!

Whether it’s the ability to unplug from technology or simply feel the dirt under your fingernails, there’s something incredibly therapeutic about gardening. I encourage all Issaquah Highlands residents to take a walk through one of the community garden patches and marvel at the amazing things your neighbors are growing.  It just may inspire you too, to become a garden volunteer.