My mother paid me a visit the other day and I showed her the progress I was making on my gardening. I took her down to the cellar to show her the portable greenhouse with the seed starters and explained my schedule of when to start the seeds and finally showed her the new raised beds in the vegetable garden. She remarked that I was taking after my grandfather and reminded me that he was big on gardening. It appears that my grandfather started a series of community gardens back during the Great Depression to help the people in the neighboring streets who were having trouble feeding their family. He provided them with seeds and taught them how to grow their own food. He even received a letter of commendation from President Roosevelt for his efforts.
Community gardening, especially in areas known as Food Deserts – areas that don’t have access to fresh food – is getting more and more popular these days. As you may know, I read The Garden Report every day and pretty much every day there is an article about some municipality here, in Canada, or in the UK, that are starting community gardens to help the poor. It not only provides fresh, nutritional food for people, but it allows them to gain a sense of accomplishment being able to sow seeds and realize a large bounty to help feed their community. Aside from the nutritional aspects, community gardening also gives something back to the environment especially when the gardeners begin to practice sustainable gardening utilizing mulching and composting. Once they are proficient at saving seeds, they not only save money but provide a way to perpetuate their efforts. It is important that children understand where their food comes from and that it take a bit of nurturing and work to grow something edible. Food is not just there, it takes a little work; a good lesson in patience. I would venture to guess it also helps to reduce violence and perhaps even a better respect for each other.
It doesn’t even take acres and acres of gardens for urban gardeners either. A small garden can be achieved on the balcony or roof of a city apartment building. I came across a video the other day that explain sustainable gardening in such a spot and it was really interesting to see. I think with a little guidance gardening can provide so much to people even in the worst of situations.