Sunday, July 4, 2010

Plant a Row

We can be confident that action which is in accord with a few basic beliefs cannot be wrong and can at least testify to the values we will need to cultivate. These are the beliefs that the human race is a family that has inherited a place on the earth in common, that its members have an obligation to work toward sharing it so that none is deprived of the elementary needs for life, and that all have a responsibility to leave it undegraded for those who follow.

~ Gilbert F. White, Stewardship of the Earth,

This year marks our first as gardeners. We've been working a plot at our city's first community garden as our yard doesn't have enough sun to really grow a garden. It's been an amazing experience for the kids - and for me. They have a new connection to their food and an appreciation for the amount of effort it takes to put food on our table. It's given them a sense of responsibility and is a source of pride as they each harvest from "their" plants. The community aspect has been a powerful one for them. In the communal space, we've planted a blueberry bush whose fruit we may not harvest to "pay it forward" and to thank those gardeners before us who left blackberries and rhubarb and the beautiful raspberries.
We've also talked about food security issues. Even knowing that we have a thriving cherry tomato plant has given them an idea of how powerful growing our own food can be.

Our plot is small and packed full of many of  the vegetables and herbs we eat regularly and while I don't think we will be able to feed our family of 6 from the garden, chances are good we may have some zucchini and tomatoes to share.

We're blessed with a few local programs which can help gardeners and those interested in the local food movement help others.

Plant a row ~ Grow a row is  a program which matches gardeners with food banks who are happy to receive and pass on fresh local produce.

Our city also has a gleaning program where residents who have fruit or nut trees which may not be fully harvested can contact this organization and volunteers will pick the produce and donate it to the food bank or other community groups.

Sharing Backyards is a program which matches up people with unused gardening space with those who wish to garden but lack space. The land owner and the gardener each bring their resources to the table and share the harvest from the garden.

I've listed a few here
Food for thought
Books for older kids
Food : ethical debates on what we eat by Jim Kerr, 
Reducing your foodprint : farming, cooking, and eating for a healthy planet by Ellen Rodger,

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