Sonoma Valley Sun


Seeds of peace for Ukraine

Posted on May 7, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Planting a garden such as Ukrainians might be planting at their homes in Kaniv, Sonoma’s sister city, we can feel attuned with them as they are living their lives as best they can in this time of war. Our friends in Kaniv are thrilled about this idea. They love flowers and grow them in profusion. 

The people of Kaniv have been living under conditions of war ever since Russia occupied Crimea in 2014. For many years, Sonomans have supported fundraisers for Kaniv, but Ukraine had not received significant support from the world until the current Russian onslaught over a year ago. Since early 2022, the people of Sonoma have sent over more than $160,000, much of that raised by Sonoma Sister Cities Association under the guidance of Kaeti Bailie, Sonoma County’s Person of the Year. The people of Kaniv are astounded and deeply grateful. But we need to redouble our efforts.

The volunteers of the Kaniv Warrior Assistance Center have been providing the troops with gear, protection, nutrition, medical aids, and vehicles for nine years, and for the past year, they have also been helping with over 4,000 refugees—in a city the size of Sonoma Valley! You can support Kaniv by coming to the dinner on May 11 and to Art on the Plaza on July 8. New paintings are arriving shortly from the Kaniv artist Lyubov Minenko.

Friends in Kaniv have told me that just the thought that we here in California are caring about them gives them physical energy as well as a boost in spirits. For us, our Ukrainian gardens will help us keep our own spirits up and give us the courage to continue to support them in their astonishingly courageous fight.

Gardens for Ukraine was inspired by an idea of Diana Short and Robert Demler of Sonoma Sister Cities Association – an international garden at the Maysonnave House representing each of Sonoma’s sister cities. This garden will be created with the help of young people of the Sonoma Ecology Center, the Earthlings of Sonoma High. From that idea came this, our own individual gardens. 

You can get a packet with seeds for daisies, red poppies, cornflowers, parsley, dill, carrots, and beets, chosen for us by Ukrainians because they are favorites and easy to grow in a small space. The packets will include growing directions, folklore, traditions, and symbolism. Also included are a Ukrainian poem written about these three flowers, some recipes, and a flag. Proceeds will go to the volunteers of Kaniv.  

If you would like to help out or to purchase a packet, please contact us soon. They make great spring gifts, good in any part of the country. What better way for us to keep Ukraine in our hearts than through getting our hands in the dirt, watching the flowers they love grow in our own gardens, and cooking with their most common herbs and vegetables? $25 local pickup or $5 shipping. Contact Tarney Baldinger by FB messenger, or text at 707.227.2228 or by email [email protected].

— Tarney Baldinger, Sonoma 


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