Community nine letters creating a word that can have an endless number of definitions. In my world, I have my immediate community of family: four people, an aging dog, a surly cat and a fish that can swim backwards. There is my Extension community all of us (tirelessly) working toward making a difference in, you guessed it, our community.
I am also blessed to be part of a community of eaters and growers those who see dinner as more than the food on our plate; shopping instead as an exercise in using all our senses to determine how the precious dollar is spent. We are all a community of consumers who understand that ultimate food security is growing ones own food, or talking to the farmer who grew it. And his group is growing by leaps and bounds, has no defined boundaries and is always accepting new family members.
There is also a community that sees beauty in plants, how they fit into the landscape and how that landscape fits into the larger environment. Through the Durango Botanical Society, I have had the pleasure of being reintroduced into this community. Although I have a couple pieces of paper that affirm my degrees in horticulture, the vast majority of my university and Extension career have been with edible crops. The society, its passionate members, and the newly formed demonstration garden at the Durango Public Library have renewed my interest in ornamentals.
Lastly and maybe more importantly than everything else besides family, is the community within which one lives. The scope of the community is dependent on your location as well as your perception. For someone in New York City, or any other metropolis, your community could consist only of your borough, your neighborhood or your street. That, in and of itself, may be as far-reaching as one ever gets. But if the community is strong, then it will support itself and its families.
Then there are towns like Durango transient, geographically removed, well-educated, active, opinionated, quirky, expensive and steeped in culture. Occasionally, that culture creates discussions: old vs. new, rural vs. urban, conservative vs. liberal. It makes for enlightening, uplifting and frequently humorous letters to the editor, but it also builds a community.
These very discussions and differences the idiosyncrasies are what make us so proud to be part of this corner of the world. Along with the fishing, skiing, biking, camping and Sunday dinners at moms this community is why my wife and I wanted to get back here, to the place I grew up and the place where we want our kids to grow up.
I am not fooled into believing that the land of wine and roses doesnt have its pits and thorns it is challenging to make ends meet here. Prices are often high, wages may be low. The merits of living in this community for so many of us outweigh the discrepancy. You all are my community, and I hope that CSU Extension will continue, or become, part of yours.
email@example.com or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.