Sharing and giving

StawberriesOn Saturday I started to pull up all of the strawberry plants that had rooted from runners last year.  I ended up with several hundred plants in a big heap.  I decided that it would be a good idea to give them away, but my wife though tno one would be interested.  I took this as a bit of a challenge,  I am one of those people who likes to think the best of others (which is an extension of having a positive outlook) my wife in contrast always expects things to go wrong and tends to distrust those she doesn’t know.  Anyway I bagged the plants up – 15 plants to a bag – and to make the challenge more interesting decided to give the plants away but allow for donations.

My eldest daughter, Stephie, made a lovely sign and we put the 15 bags of plants in a big plastic container on the path outside the house.  The sign read – Free Strawberries – and was nicely illustrated.  Next to the container was a small wooden bowl which I put a little loose change in; to get things going.  After three days all 15 bags have gone, we collected about £5 in donations and so far as I can tell, none of the donated money was removed.

I thought it was a pretty good illustration of my view on life:

  • I gave something away which made me feel good
  • I provided the opportunity for donation, but no obligation, and most people donated
  • At least 15 people appreciated the gesture, so that made them feel good
  • No one stole any of the money, or took an unfair number of plants, (the bags went roughly 1 at a time), so I feel better about my neighbourhood
  • Hopefully people will enjoy the crop for years to come
  • Hopefully a few more people will stop and chat as the year progresses
  • Maybe others will do the same with other plants and spare produce and community spirit will improve, we will see

We give a lot to charity and to charity shops, but this tiny experiment was a much more direct way of engaging with the community and redistributing excess.  It was also interesting to see the effect on the kids who were fascinated by the whole process, and it was all I could do to stop them from perching at the front of the house and becoming market sales girls, not because of the money but because of the enjoyable banter they engaged in on a fine spring day.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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