In Giving, We Receive

As a long-time Board member and enthusiastic supporter of the Food for families program, I spend many Saturday mornings harvesting and distributing produce and flowers to Concord and Carlisle residents. Through the years, I have received so much joy from this community of recipients. Food naturally generates conversations and memories and has opened the door to my friendship with Concord resident Ingeborg Traulsen.

Ingeborg was born in Germany in 1939 and remembers first farming at the age of five under the tutelage of her grandfather. He plowed under the family’s boxwood hedges and planted potatoes, leaving a little room for strawberries. Ingeborg survived WWII in a small town between Dresden and Leipzig where people farmed in their backyards and fields. Food was in short supply. She was “lucky” after the war to go to northern Germany, where each family was given a plot of land.

Her grandmother, to her delight, gave Ingeborg her own plot when she was seven. She planted herbs, tied them into little bunches, put them in a basket and sold them for a nickel each — a lot of money at that time. She was also interested in wild plants, not cultivated.

As an adult, Ingeborg came to the United States in 1959 and has lived in Concord for the past ten years. She loves to cook typically German recipes with our produce and has contributed hearty dishes to the Harvest Fest. Asked what she likes about Gaining Ground, she says “the nutritional aspect” is most important, along with making the land bear fruit. Her reflection harkens back to her childhood days in Germany. Her little plot of land was poor and water would wash over the land, removing the topsoil.

Although in poor health over the past few years, Ingeborg has battled her persistent afflictions valiantly. She greets friends enthusiastically, her curiosity and humor intact. You will see her proudly wearing her “Food for Families” t-shirt most Saturday mornings.

Ingeborg, thank you for being one of many who has given me so much joy through our food connections.