When I was a young girl I never wanted to help my mom in our family garden. Pulling weeds is not how I wanted to spend my summer especially in the Nebraska heat. The garden has always been my mom’s passion. She loved growing tomatoes and onions from our backyard. Sometimes I will come home and she’ll say ‘Look at this cucumber from the garden’. It has always been her pride and joy. Being part of the Micah Corps this summer I have been able to get experience gardening once again. This time though I saw the importance of gardening in a whole new way.
This summer I have been working on learning about food security and how we can help people have access to enough food and making sure it is healthy. In order to learn more about these issues we had the opportunity to work with an organization called The Big Garden. The Big Garden focuses on helping local communities start gardens and educate people on the importance of gardening. During our time working there we got to pull weeds to help start a garden and attend classes where three-year olds were planting flowers. I do not know if I would trust a three-year old with a marigold but it was more important for them to learn how plants actually grow. We discussed with the director of the Big Garden about the importance of gardening as related to food security. He talked with us about how important it is for people to have access to healthy food and they can get that through community gardens. One of the issues we face here in the United States is people not being able to eat healthy fruits and vegetables.
Before this opportunity I never thought about the fact that gardens help food security. The only thing I thought that helps fight food insecurity were things like food banks and pantries, even though my own family garden grew FOOD. These community gardens can give those people healthy food but they also empower them to take pride in what they have done. Just like my mom being so proud of herself for keeping our tomatoes alive the Big Garden helps those communities see what they can do themselves. Now I see these community gardens as a way to encourage people to eat healthy and see they are capable. If three-year-olds can plant flowers I think we all can do it.
To learn more about the Big Garden click here: http://www.gardenbig.org/