On a recent weekend, I met a boy named Danny who, like a lightning bolt from the heavens, made the benefits of urban gardening crystal clear to me.

On a Sunday afternoon, he sat with a table of pumpkins in front of his house in Oak Park. I stopped my car in amazement. At first, I thought, it’s too cold to be selling lemonade; then – if he’s selling lemonade, why are there pumpkins on the table? When I walked up to him, Danny willingly told me his story. He was selling pumpkins. He had put in a lot of seeds in the spring. Most of them took and he had a bumper crop. The price was right, too. He was selling the pumpkins for $1 apiece.

We talked a bit. I said I was glad he had these pumpkins because there was a pumpkin shortage. Canned and fresh pumpkins are just not available at the grocery stores right now. I was especially glad that his pumpkins were organic. I could still see the frost-limp pumpkin vines winding across his side yard.

What a happy place from which to harvest the three pumpkins I bought from him. I will make pumpkin pies and delight that they came from a little patch of ground tended by a little boy in my green town of Oak Park.

Ginger Brown Vanderveer
Oak Park

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