Grow a garden this summer, even a small one, to give food to your local food banks. Right now, the global economic crisis is stressing pantries, as more families must make the choice between food or utilities. In 2007, the number of undernourished people in the world increased by 75 million in 2007. We can expect that number to rise.
You can simultaneously ease your own food budget constraints, while sharing fresh, nutrient-rich foods. Growing a portion of your own food helps keep food prices low, and eliminates the ridiculous 1,500 miles and 400 gallons of gas required to bring the average tomato from the farm to your table.
Every six seconds a child dies because he or she is hungry.
While there are many similarities between The Recession and The Depression, one common thread of both crises is the feeling of powerlessness. The Victory Gardens planted during World War I were one practical way families cut their food budget, and shared their crops. Harvesting crops also boosted morale. We only need to read Ruth Krauss’s book The Carrot Seed, one time to feel the victory of the child who learns that “it did come up,” to see how gardening feeds the souls of children.
Growing food preserves our world.
Remember that 800 million people already go to bed hungry.
But what about the work? Pat Marfisi, a gardener in drought-stricken Hollywood Hills, uses the “no-dig” or “lasagna-style” method of layering newspaper, mulch and straw directly over the sod to create a nutrition-rich bed. (Repeat, no digging.)The rich soil allows him to extend watering to more than 10-days. His garden, he says, “inundates him with food.”
If kids that help in the kitchen are more likely to eat what they make, kids are more likely to eat what they grow. A single freshly-picked snow pea could transform their palate; the sugar content of a homegrown pea is much higher than any grocery-store pod. Beans can grow into great forts, and sunflowers make great houses for children to explore nature’s marvelous bugs. Now’s the time to explore seed catalogues, and books like Sunflower Houses that give step-by-step instructions for transforming vegetables into magical spots.
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While we wait for spring to make its long journey back, take this time to ponder our extensive, food supply chain, the taste of a garden-fresh tomato, and the depleting stores of our food banks. When spring arrives, I hope you’ll be ready to share what you grow. Our dinner tables could use an infusion of good, ripe, old-fashioned flavor.
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