My Calculated Acts of Kindness campaign this year has a food theme — which with passions for cooking and gardening works well. As a advocate for local food banks and an end to hunger, it’s exciting to think how we can each make a few small changes to improve the food security of our neighborhoods. For example, did you know the average tomato in America travels 1500 miles to get from the garden to your table? Not to mention, spending 400 gallons of gasoline in the process.
And so, we plant. We make a commitment to dig up some patch of earth or fill a giant pot, and we drop in a few seeds. Through nurturing the earth, we reconnect with the precious process of watching nature slowly transform into a warm tomato off the vine that makes us wonder how we ever put up with those waxy, off-color mutants we’ve been eating from Kroger’s. In the process of growing, we plant an extra row with intention and give to those who are hungry. The Plant a Row program (PAR) was created to add additional produce to food bank shelves nationally. It’s been going strong for 15 years and could use that extra row of beets, onions, carrots or potatoes now more than ever. www.gardenwriters.org
Perhaps you are reading this in Minneapolis or Canada or some other far away freezing locale and rolling your eyes and growing tomatoes for others when you’d kill for a bit of sunshine yourself. This doesn’t have to happen today. Your summer will be lovely. While I’m curled up in the fetal position praying to the air conditioning Gods to get through an Arizona heat wave, you’ll be skipping through the tulips. The grass is always greener, but hunger is hunger regardless of your zip code. It doesn’t matter when you plant. Just plant.
And if you are thinking that you don’t know heads or tails about how to grow your own food, much less the difference between organic, all-natural and locally grown — oh, do I hear you. Gardening is like any other hobby. It can be exceptionally intimidating and the challenges can easily send you running the other direction. This is my very first garden and my thumbs are still black as night. But! Again, like any other hobby — it gets easier with a bit of practice and experiment. Seeing it done with your own eyes always makes doing something new easier for me. If you can show me and I can ask questions, I can figure out just about anything, including how to turn a handful of seeds into a basket of great food. Or so I hope…
For local folk, come out to Superstition Farms on Saturday, March 7, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Enjoy Arizona’s Ag Day’s 29th year with a $1 Farmers’ Share Lunch, petting zoo, dairy tour, hayrides, etc.www.azagday.com, www.superstitionfarm.com
Viva le compost!
How does my garden grow? Optimistically, of course. What will you grow to share?