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  • Writer's pictureJon Mychal Heatherly

Plant the Seeds of Good Change pt. 2

Meet our Cofounder: Aaron Shultz

Core Volunteer Series

We would be remiss for the second part of our series without mentioning our cofounder, Aaron Shultz. More than just an urban farmer's husband, he has supported Autumn in her community garden endeavor since 2010.

Aaron contributes a lot to the garden. As a nurse, he promotes health and prevention of illness in both the clinical setting and the community. He's also our accountability buddy.

During our discussion on compost, I mentioned how many fabrics are compostable. I included drier lint in the compost, and Aaron reminded us that many textiles are now synthetic or blended. Don't compost plastic - only natural fibers. Thanks, Aaron! We appreciate all your contributions. Keep reading as we interview our residing First Gentleman.

Q: What do you love about gardening?

A: "Everything tastes better fresh and doubly so if it’s a reward of your hard work. I’m endlessly fascinated watching the full lifecycle of each plant. I especially love growing something I’ve never grown before. And it’s refreshing being in nature since it’s such a small sliver of most people's lives anymore."

Q: What was growing @Mborogarden like?

A: "Since its inception. My wife, Autumn, and I started simple patio gardening to beautify our home and have fun growing a few edible things as well. Pretty quickly we were both hooked on the idea of doing more. Autumn did all the legwork of making lots of contacts, gaining access to land etc. I mainly provided the sweat and tears until we had better equipment and more like minded gardeners to join us."

Q: What was your vision for the garden?

A: "The shape of the garden now wasn’t how I originally envisioned. Very early on Autumn and I looked at some rentable land in or near Murfreesboro which we could divide and rent out as individual or family plots still with the idea of communal help, learning, health and friendship. Different doors opened for us and new experiences led us to reinvision the garden as one communal plot where people can learn to garden, enjoy fresh produce and be a benefit to the immediate community in which we are located. A big thanks is due to Key United Methodist Church for allowing us to use their property, asking nothing in return."

Q: Any garden interests or skills?

A: "I think most of everything I know about gardening has been experiential or shared with me from others. In other words, lots of trial and error and often not fully understood success. Nature can be both harsh and also pretty forgiving to novice gardeners. Myself and all of our core group are familiar growing a wide variety of vegetables and flowers, but I have many hobbies and don’t consider myself an expert at anything in the garden. Still, gardening is one of the highlights of my week and I’m happy we get to share it with friends we’ve made there."

Q: How do you spread the word?

A: "A lot of work has gone into spreading the word about the garden. We’ve promoted via multiple social media platforms, flyers, business cards, t-shirts, large community events, and pairing with other volunteer organizations."

Q: Anything else?

A: "Just many thank you’s to really an endless stream of those who’ve visited the garden out of curiosity and a desire to help. The college and church organizations that have sent so many volunteers. Amazon outreach volunteers. Those who have donated money, talent and equipment. And groups and businesses like Rutherford County Soil Conservation Board, HCA and Kroger whose charitable programs have supplied funds to us enabling the purchase of soil amendments, fencing and our tool shed."

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