This Year’s Harvest: Benvenuta Piccolina Leona

This June we welcome the newest and most important member of our HOGS family: Leona Lark Licopoli. For the months before she arrived, we noted to all who asked, that she was due in the midst of our busiest season, right around June 1. We laughed about harvesting during planting and worked to get what we could done before our lives would change dramatically.

In the weeks leading up to Leona’s arrival, Dylan worked hard at the community garden to get all that he could into the ground. Spring was quite late and cold this year, and planting schedules across Long Island were pushed back. As as we got closer to the due date, Jesse came down to plant seeds and work on her squatting. Our baby would be here any day...any day.... any day. As it was, Leona took her time and allowed even more to be put in the ground.

On June 16, she joined us and melted our hearts.

Not surprisingly, this summer, there were far more weeds in the garden plots, the basil went to seed before we made our yearly supply of pesto, the flowers wilted, and many of our beans got tough on the vine. Jesse has barely made it down, keeping Leona, for the time being, out of this summer’s heat wave and at a remove from the mosquitos. Dylan did the best he could, bringing home boxes of vegetables and making sauce in the heat. Still so, the pressure-canner we received last year for Christmas still sits in the box in the basement and some of our vegetables never made it through to be processed. We did though, make sure to eat a beautiful dinner home each night with Leona in our arms. We slept well and were rested, able to give her all the attention and comfort she deserves. This first summer has been a magical one. 


In the garden,  we weren’t as productive this year. But as gardeners, we grew. The arrival of a baby is its own force of nature --  a beacon of new relation and possibility. New balance needs to be found and identities necessarily transform. Ultimately, productivity exists in relation to flexibility and adaptability. The power of gardening lies beyond the work in the earth, but extends as a metaphor to our relationships. We get out what we put in—and care is the essential virtue. When we think about the health of our baby, we also think about the health of our place. Our work today extends into her future, and the future of other babies like her. Leona will witness a century of continued environmental change and awareness.  We hope it will be one that nurtures community and compassion -- and continues to nourish a healthy relation to the earth. We hope her life is full of wonder. And so, this first photograph of her with a harvest is a special one. May our little one continued to be surrounded by abundance, generosity, and of course, tomatoes.

Many thanks to our lovely community for your support and kindness these past months. We feel very fortunate to be surrounded by gardeners of all kinds. 


To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.           

                                                                                                    -Ralph Waldo Emerson