Some gardening testimonials

I asked members of the Facebook group Oak Park Hates Veggies — which was created in response to this story — to send me photos and a little blurb explaining why they think gardening is important.

Jane Gibson from Lawrence, Kansas

Jane's garden

Jane's garden.

“After years of trying to grow tomatoes, greens, and other mouth-wateringly delicious vegetables in the usual, more private spaces of our shady urban home, we realized we’d have to garden in the front yard because that is where the sun is. Gardening for us is a family affair, but it turns out it is also a community matter. In the garden,my husband and I are brought together in fun and satisfying ways with our children and grandchildren, friends, neighbors, other gardeners, and the earth.”

Kim Doyle Wille from El Jebel, Colorado

“Growing veggies is important to me not only for the peace of mind or the veggies, fruits, & herbs yielded, but because they help feed my neighborhood and clients of the local food pantries! (Our neighborhood has dug up our front, sides, and back yards to create 16 gardens per my Plant a Row to End Hunger idea!”

Motomasa Mori from Vancouver, BC

Motomasa's garden

Motomasa's garden

“There are many reasons gardening is important to me. The number one reason is simply being able to better control what goes into my body. I mean this not only in terms of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, but also in terms of the quality of the food I ingest. Since we as a society rely more and more on big agro-businesses to provide us with our food, the quality of said food has been declining.”

Kathy Arnheim from Cape Coral, Florida

“I don’t want to be Monsanto’s guinea pig! Our government refuses to label veggies so you don’t know if they are GMO or not. I’ve already given up beets, corn, crooked neck squash and now they are talking about rice.”

Our fruits and vegetables are usually picked when they are ‘green’ and ‘ripen’ during the 7 to 14 days of transportation and storage. But the problem is that such food is not really ripening, because it is not being provided additional sustenance by the plant. So although the food may look ripe, its nutritional content is closer to that of a ‘green’ fruit or vegetable.”

Where to start?

Kitchen Gardeners is a global community that supports people all around the world in helping them become a little more self-reliant. From their website:

happy jalapeno

A happy garden jalapeno. Photo: OakleyOriginals

“With the world in the grips of intersecting food, fuel, financial and environmental crises, it is clear that we need to make a shift in the way we eat and live. Kitchen gardens have been an important part of our past and will play an even more critical role in the future as we work to feed a growing world population using a dwindling and increasingly polluted natural resource base.”

Go to your local garden shop, natural food store, or food co-operative. Talk to staff about growing your own food. Start small and build from there. Don’t get discouraged if nothing grows right away. If you don’t have a yard, find out where the nearest community garden is and volunteer.

The way I looked at it when I planted my first seeds was that this summer was going to be a learning experience and a practice in lifestyle balance. Anything that actually grows is icing on the cake.

*Levels adjusted for inflation
**Update 8/4/2011: I just noticed that the Community Roots farm is no longer operational. The website is still running for informational purposes and they state that they will have an update on the future of the farm.