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  • Jennifer Jewell


Ross Gay - Poet & Gardener, Photo by Natasha Komoda |


"It’s sort of beautiful – Lucky – It feels like a lucky orientation to be constantly thinking: 'Oh what’s happening out there, what’s growing – what are we going to eat for supper that’s growing out there.'"

Poet and Gardener, Teacher and Human - Ross Gay

I felt like we could all use a conversation with Ross Gay today. Hope you agree. If you do not own his Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude or The Book of Delights, your garden library is not yet complete. Enjoy our conversation from last November.

Ross Gay is gardener - he is also an award winning poet and a professor. A founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a food justice and joy project, Ross joins us this day of Thanksgiving to share more about his garden life journey and the unabashed gratitude and delight it brings him.

As a whole person, Ross considers his orientation toward the beauty and abundance of the growing world a beautiful and lucky one. This sense of wonder and gratitude permeates all that he grows and writes, including his writing. Ross’s books include Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude and The Book of Delights, both are deeply expressive about the knowledge, joy, and metaphor offered by the gardening and the growing world.

"My creative life is really informed by that community gesture of asking 'how do we care for our neighbors' – which I think is really the fundamental question of our community orchard here. That’s kind of what my work is – it’s more than about the home garden, it’s actually about our tending to one another."

Poet and Gardener, Teacher and Human - Ross Gay

author of "catalog of unabashed gratitude" (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)

Ross's work, as he says, is often about how we are tending to one another in this world. In our conversation, he shares his deep appreciation for having serendipitously become involved in the Bloomington Community Orchard free-fruit-for all food justice and joy project. He sees this involvement and its communal gesture of caring for one another through growing food as having shifted his understanding of gardening to an even more expansive plane than had he simply understood gardening’s gifts alone or with his partner Stephanie:

Follow along with Ross online at:

The many ways people cultivate their places moves me every single day.




Ok so thinking out loud this week –

When I say that gardens and gardeners are intersectional agents of powerful powerful change in this world - Ross Gay and his gardening impulse are everything to do with this - he, his students, the trees in the communal orchard, the community of humans related to the community orchard (and we all are humans related to the community orchard), embody the perfect fact that Gardening is an ethical orientation towards generosity, abundance, care, Joy and Love.

Toward an inherent and perennial sense of Thanksgiving.

Hold onto this - we are - as Ross so eloquently offers out to us - we are beholden to and by this very rich understanding of how we want to live.




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