Gardens – while my black thumb has been a major hurdle personally trying to get one up and running, I’m passionate about them. From the schoolyard young to the mature and elderly, it is never too late to share the magic of tending and growing their own garden for food.
Why do I feel this is a vital part of our society? Well, growing gardens fosters a sense of community, first of all. What I mean by that is, how many of you gardeners have grown a type of food and ended up with so much of it come harvest time, that it seemed a waste to let it wither on the vine? What do we do at that point? We’re offering to unload all of this food to anyone willing to take it: Neighbors, co-workers, friends, family. Now imagine for a second that one out of five people in the US had a garden. I’m not even talking everyone, just one out of five. Imagine how much food would be flowing through your neighborhood. Food deserts, what is that? Hunger, what is that? Food insecurity? We could create a lot more community by getting to talk to your neighbor and trade food, sharing, and assisting those in need. And eventually, it could potentially lead to seeds swaps where you are trading seeds with your neighbor for a variety of lettuce or tomato you’ve never grown before.
Secondly, it just makes sense to teach people to grow their own food because it is cheaper in the end! So many times, I have mused to my partner, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be snacky and just go out into the backyard and snag a fruit from one of our trees, or grab just enough cilantro for my salad instead of a huge bunch at the store that sometimes goes to waste?” The only investment you make is time.
Thirdly, it negates the worry about GMOs and pesticides in our foods if we are buying and trading organic seeds. If you have a home garden, you have so much more control over how your food is grown. You can rest assured that the food your kids pick from the garden in between bouts of throwing the football or biking around the neighborhood is nutritious, natural, and healthy for them.
Now that I have said my piece, I wanted to share some information from the Community Food Banks of Southern Arizona about garden grants with deadlines coming up.
There are three grants – one for schools, one for any charitable or educational nonprofit program in the US, and another that can be put toward any number of garden projects for schools, 501c3s, food banks, community gardens, colleges, libraries, prisons, senior programs, etc.
If any of these speak to you, check out these links, and see if you can start a food revolution for your community!
Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant
Award: $500 in garden supplies, plants, compost, etc.
Due Date: Jan. 17, 2014
- Partnership w/ Community Food Bank will expand gardening & nutrition education @ ranch! (campourbano.org)
- Accepting applications for 2014 Step ONE Teaching Garden Grants (chatthamhealth.wordpress.com)
- Home Grown, On Your Own (bizgovsoc9.wordpress.com)
- Merced students get science lessons via community garden (mercedsunstar.com)
- Boosting Cardiff’s local food scene (bwydlleol.wordpress.com)
- What’s Old Is New Again (slowmoneyfarm.wordpress.com)
- South Phoenix community gardens put focus on reducing obesity ()
- City of Crestview gets Community Garden (wjhg.com)
2 thoughts on “Teaching people to feed themselves”
I completely agree with you on the possibility of gardens to create greater community and greater food security. One thing that I have learned though is that you have to provide education with it – and not on “how” to grow as much as “what is growing”. In certain families, fresh food has lapsed one and two generations and therefore is really foreign.
This is true. Just like my own attempts, I still have a lot to learn on how to grow and tend plants. Education is ALWAYS key. Thanks for the comment!