The Plot Thickens

Appears in the May 2022 issue.

For the first time in recent memory, every plot of arable land at the Ron Ory Community Garden in Naperville was rented last year. This postlockdown gardening boom doesn’t surprise Angelique Harshman one bit. As manager of the parcel for the park district, she says playing in the dirt, at any age, is a panacea. 

It’s great exercise. (Three invigorating hours spent gardening, she says, equals one hour at the sweaty gym.) Nutrients in the soil combat depression. And gardening spurs creativity. 

Which is why she’s worked so hard to attract newbies by offering more half plots, how-to workshops, garden tours, and Q&As with master gardeners. It’s paying dividends—for everyone. 

“When people work the land,” she says, “they rediscover so much about themselves and the world around them.” 

Photo courtesy of naperville park district