Originally published May 24 2008
Reasons for Starting Your Own Garden
by Debby Bolen
(NaturalNews) The Season of Spring is lavish with its abundance. Before we even ask, nature blesses us with every shade of color and profusion of green. Far and wide, beauties of nature are bursting forth with new growth and blossoms. Our copious supply abounds everywhere. Everyone is relieved spring has finally sprung for nature is teeming with plenty for everyone. Yet, our country is presently experiencing numerous economic, environmental, and health crises.
Concerns from reducing pollution, greenhouse gases, energy consumption, and the burden on our landfills, to protecting our increasingly scarce water supply, plants and animals from extinction, and against serious threats to human health, have risen on the list of public interests causing many more people to "go green". There are simple but meaningful actions people can take to save our planet for future generations including choices to recycle, composting, using energy efficient light bulbs, or using barrels to collect rainwater.
Consequently, over the last year one reason gardening is witnessing tremendous growth nationwide is because people who love fresh food are reducing environmental costs of mass-producing and shipping food all over the globe by drastically reducing "food miles" and simply choosing to grow their own. With this culinary trend towards fresh, local cuisine one knows exactly what they are serving and eating. Among the numerous reasons more than 70 million US gardeners grow their own fruit, veggies, and herbs includes reasons for health, to save money, to teach children, and to share.
Another enormous dilemma in America is our growing hunger plight. According to a 2007 USDA report, over 35 million Americans experienced food insecurity in 2006. In other words, there are tens of millions of Americans including over 12 million children who are not sure when or where their next meal will come from. Our nation's largest charitable hunger relief organization, Second Harvest reported in "Hunger in America 2006" over 25 million Americans depend on emergency food services annually with the hardship currently exploding.
Many food banks struggle to meet the need for food assistance to the point where now they only serve people living within their zip code area. By 1995 to contend with this ever-growing predicament, the Garden Writers Association (GWA) launched their Plant a Row (PAR) program (http://www.gardenwriters.org/Par/index.html) encouraging gardeners to donate their extra produce to food banks and local soup kitchens serving the homeless and hungry. Wherever a local Committee exists, the GWA PAR program provides direction, training support, and materials for businesses, church groups, home gardeners, schools, and youth and community organizations making a difference in their community for their neighbors. Through their simple people-helping-people approach they have made a significant impact on reducing hunger. In 2005 mainly through the media, GWA PAR efforts provided, without government subsidies or bureaucratic red tape, more than 1.5 million pounds of fresh produce to over 5.5 million hungry recipients. Throughout the U.S. and Canada their total donations have reached nearly 10 million pounds.
If these reasons don't persuade your interest in gardening, take into account the quandary we are in two different wars and our soldiers are returning home daily. During World War I and World War II private residence gardens provided up to 40% of the vegetable produce consumed thereby reducing the strain on the food supply. Such devotion doesn't exist now. Are you aware the Veterans Health Administration confirms an average 126 veterans per week for a total of 6,552 veterans per year are committing suicide? Sorrowfully there are about 18 veterans suicides per day, which hasn't happened in previous wars. Imagine after war coming home with health and psychological problems to unemployment, high prices, and a non-responsive government. Consider welcoming home your local returning weary vet by donating a row of garden produce to assist them as they re-assimilate.
Some seed companies have even stepped up to meet some of these types of community needs by donating seeds to qualifying organizations. Two examples of companies with seed donation programs are Seeds of Change (http://www.seedsofchange.com/donations/default.asp) and Park Seed (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=94eAOdm4Nb8&offerid=119100.10000019&type=3&subid=0) .
Interestingly, there is even a Victory Gardens organization in Oregon specifically devoted to supplying untreated, organically grown or certified organic open-pollinated and heirloom seeds (http://www.victoryseeds.com/TheVictoryGarden/) .
With all the supplies and options available, gardening is much easier today. Between the Internet, the local County Extension Agencies, and gardening supply businesses, a plethora of information is available to make your 2008 gardening endeavors great. Gardeners contribute to saving the planet for our children, future generations, and us. So whether you are motivated by concerns about the environment, feel a civic duty, just want to share with your neighbors, need a new hobby, teaching children, or whatever your impulse might be, pick up some seeds and supplies and Happy Gardening!
About the author
Check out some of Debby’s websites and blogs at:
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