Women’s Institute Plant and Bake Sale coming up, May 1

This past year, I have taken refuge in the garden, in the kitchen, and in thoughts of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers – all the women going back, to the point where I no longer know their names, who endured plagues, famines, wars that lasted for year on end – and I let my hair grow ridiculously long in a kind of homage to them, and to this bodily knowing I might be able to tap into, that we can do hard things, we can endure hard things, that we can stay light, that we can choose love. It has been done before. It’s in my cellular memory.

Last May, the Pemberton Women’s Institute, which is one of the longest-running organizations in settled Pemberton, (it started in 1940, linking us today with several generations of women living in this valley), did a graceful COVID pivot, and moved their annual Plant and Bake Sale from the Legion to a local farm, offering 20 minute long appointments. It’s not the social event it used to be.. but then, I was beginning to notice over the past few years, that people’s laser-eyed focus on plants meant they were not socialising until afterwards anyway. Like, literally, I had acquaintances say, “yeah, hi, I’ll talk to you once I get my plants.” LOL

Again this year, celebrate May 1, and start thinking about your May 24 earth-turning, with the Plant and Bake Sale.

Nine years ago, Linda Welsh shared a little about the history of this event:

It was originally held in the old Pemberton Community Hall (AG Foods current site). In the 70’s, the WI held a Mothers Day Sale and brought in plants to make baskets to sell. Then they started digging plants from their gardens to add to it. The seed potato sales started around that time as well.  In the mid 80’s other groups started selling plants the same weekend so the WI moved to the first Saturday in May.  Back then, there weren’t enough customers to support two events on the same day.  The Community Hall burned down in December 1980 so the Legion became the new venue.

And PS even if you’re feeling squirly and excited to start digging and raking and making your mark on the soil, take a pause. There are plenty of other critters, including bees, who are sleeping under the mulch, leaves, weeds, detritus, right now. They’re depending on that mess that you’re anxious to clean up. So ignore it until the temps warm up, and go for a bike ride, or a walk, or take a nap, instead.

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