I have developed a system to review my year trying to grow food which I decided to call ''The Seeds of Joy and Tumult'', an award system to recognise last year food growing perks. It was intended to be simple and yet as I used it, it grew into being useful and a fun way to process what happen last year and develop further goals.
Step 1: Preparations
First, I make myself a warm drink*, head to my sofa, along with a nice notebook and some pens
*Generally, hot water or some mint tea - Rose made herself a coffee when trying the tool
The only rule is that: the Seeds of Joy of Tumult Ceremony takes place in January when the year is finished. Not on the 30th of December, only to discover on the 31st that it should have gone elsewhere!
Step 2: Quick Review
I review my main year notebook where I have written notes there and then about the garden and my food growing attempts and failures. I also check my diary in case I visited a friend and helped her with her allotment and I also check the pictures I have taken in the last year. If I was very organised, I'll have a special notebook for my garden progress. I'll write more thoroughly what I have observed in the garden, high and lows for each season, the things I have bought and tried etc.
But oh well, most of the time, I take some time to jot down everything that comes into my mind about my attempt to grow food in the last year. Usually, one thread of thought lead me to another and I realise how full the year has been. I even recalled movies and videos I watched that really inspired me in relation to food growing, the environment and community building.
If you haven't grown any food last year, review some of your past goals, the plants you liked, the people you have met that inspires you, the food you ate and that you enjoy... anything about food growing that enrich your knowledge.
After writing a couple of pages, it is time to distribute some seeds
Step 3: The Actual Seeds of Joy and Tumult Ceremony
For each category, I write all nominations that comes to mind.
Then, I choose a winner (I pick a special pen to make it more official and ceremonious), including a little explanation as to why they won, and what this person/thing/event meant to me.
Here are the categories:
1. Favourite New Garden Addition - What is the best things/plant/animals/ person that entered my garden in the last year? (please note the award can only be attributed ONCE to one thing, so I put an effort into thinking about it).
2. Food Growing Person of the year - I name the person which helped me the most in my journey to grow food and improve my garden. It has to be someone that I know already. Year after year, the same person came up for me and I am fond of how much our relationship evolve through the years.
3. Best Food Growing Memory - What gardening moments comes to mind as my favourite one from this year?
4. Most exciting Moment - Not necessarily the same as the best food growing moment.
5. Most Annoying/Worst Moment - a moment to look back at in years to come and smile fondly at. (remember snails and slugs will always eats your lettuce seedlings).
6. Miscellaneous Food Growing Seed Award - Attribute one of your seed of joy or tumult to ''something''. it can be picking some mint leaves from the garden to have a tea in the summer day to spotting a robin in the garden. What random memory jumps to mind from this year that would be good to honour and remember?
7.Quote of the Year - what memorable thing has somebody said about your garden - whether funny, meaningful, deep, or silly?
8. Community of the Year - What is the community I felt the most connected and supported by in the last year in my journey trying to grow food.
9. Growing Spots of the Year - What place inspired me the most to grow food and/or redesign my garden? An example from last year" I visited my friend's allotment, oh joy, I collected tonnes of plums and promise myself to go back next year.
10. Documentary/Youtube Video of the year - Did some media have a big impact on me in the last year in relation with food growing, the environment and community building?
13. Most significant mistake - What is the main error I have made this year when trying to grow food or maintaining my garden? any lessons to learn from it?
14.Greatest food growing lesson - Any useful lessons I could take from last year?
15. Food Growing Accomplishment list - What did I actually accomplish in the previous year? even in 'bad' years there are usually quite a few things to be proud of and if not... that what next year is for.
16. To Work on Next Year - By this point, there are few things that I can do differently for the next year. It is time to write a list of priorities for the new food growing year.
17. Theme of the year - From the priority list, I come up with a theme to tie it all up together.
Please note that you can write a lot for each seeds or just a sentence. And you can create your own categories.
Step 4: The future
After having written few pages of notes, I wrap up and end the process by writing a few lines looking to the year ahead:
What are my hopes? What good things are coming up? What challenges?
Maybe somebody comes to mind I would like to get in touch to do some time swap on each other garden. Maybe I may change ever so slightly my plans considering what is to come up?
I love the idea that in many years time I will go back and read who receive seeds of joy and tumult and seeing who/what/where was important to me at the time and remained significant over the years.
Time to hear from you!
In the comment box below, let us know how do you review your food growing and garden effort each year? Do you have any particular plans for the year ahead? Is there any person that could help you in reaching your goals? tell us below. Be specific and comprehensive.
Important: share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments. Links to other posts, videos, etc. will be deleted as they come across as spammy.
Thank you for your contribution to The Crop Club community. You are sharing the joy of growing further.
Share this piece with your hopeful gardening friends. They'll thank you for it.
All the best,