By: Giovanna Forno

This summer, as I take in the sweet, warm Sacramento air, I recognize it with pride as it marks my fourth year living in Sacramento. I moved here from the Bay Area in 2008 to pursue my undergraduate degree at Sacramento State and since then I have been establishing myself in the community as best as a broke, college student can. I am proud to play a number of roles in the Sacramento community; I am a student, barista, rugby player, friend, volunteer, and a roommate.

School is my primary focus, however with increasing tuition and limited courses, summer school was no longer an option for me. With extra time on my hands, I decided to establish new ‘roots’ in Sacramento and start my own garden. My best friend sparked the idea when she gave me a beginning gardening kit that included essential tools and herb seeds that compliments my cooking style: rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley and cilantro. This is how my garden came to life; as I saw my seeds sprout and grow, I was filled with a new pride, one that could not be satisfied with good grades or work promotions.

What first started out as an innocent herb garden, soon turned into my summer garden project. With the help of friends,, and the sweet sun, I have been able to sprout eggplants, zucchini, tomato, pumpkin, sunflowers, marigolds, lemon trees, and most recently jalapenos, green beans, and soon, an apricot tree. I have even used my herbs in a variety of plates such as red beans and rice, fresh salads and a delicious mango salsa. I am even fortunate enough to live walking distance from Pietro Talini’s Nursery in East Sacramento, where I can see what plants are in season, and purchase good quality soil.

As I nurture my veggies to harvest and my flowers to blossom in the next month, I realize there is so much more to learn as I begin plans for a fall garden. I am at the beginning of my journey and as a student, I am constantly moving, and therefore started my garden in individual planters so they can travel wherever life decides to take me. Despite the challenges one must overcome when gardening, it has helped me grow both internally and externally. My garden brings me peace of mind and gives me the opportunity to share my growth with friends, roommates, and co-worker, who enrich the experience of gardening and allow for me to give back to the community I have found here in Sacramento.