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Chairs, donated by Kevin and Chris, friends of the Garden - June 7, 2017

A true community garden is like the stone from that old fable, “Stone Soup”.  If it’s working well, the garden encourages folks to share their resources.  There are so many good feelings, community connections, and packets of love in many other forms (bricks, trellises, yard furniture, soil, etc.) left at the garden that I imagine a vapor of love and caring surrounds it.  Over the past three years several people have reported to me they feel like the garden is a healing space.

One of our neighbors came down to the garden and planted two tomato plants—both of which are thriving.  She does not have a place for growing tomatoes in her yard.  Her husband who is dying of cancer loves tomatoes from the garden.  She planted the plants for him.

A young woman whose grandmother recently died comes down to the garden about once every ten days or so and weeds.  Her grandmother was a gardener and weeding makes the young woman feel closer to her.

Several times a month we have visitors from clients at the health spa located next door to the garden.  These people report the garden’s peaceful, calming effect.  Many studies investigating the Biophilia hypothesis substantiate their reports.

The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life and that these connections result in healing effects such as lowering blood pressure, calming a racing heart, etc.  Edward O. Wilson suggested that human beings have an innate urge to affiliate with other forms of life.  

 

Trellis and Sweet Potato Pots—Garland Community Garden June 7, 2017

A Community Garden Brings the Gift of Togetherness and Community Connectivity

Yesterday Jane and I installed five huge pots of sweet potato slips. These pots will be part of our Sweet Potato and Loofah Festival that is planned for November 4—the first Saturday in November.  This event is a combination of fun and education for our community. 

This installation was made possible by the donation of a wooden trellis by at this moment, an anonymous donor.  I’m checking the source out with one of one our local businesses here in Garland—The Tin Lizard  (a local Garland business) as they mentioned the possibility of donating a trellis.  It was left when a steward was not in the garden.   The pots are another example.  I made them from environmental cloth that was donated to us from the Byron Nelson Classic last year.  They had used the cloth for shade and to create temporary fencing.

 

A beautiful picnic table and the two blue chairs in the background donated by friends Kevin and Chris. –Garland Community Garden June 7, 2017

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The Garden brings with it the gift of FOOD AWARENESS

One of the many gifts of a community garden and growing at least some of the food we eat is the resulting awareness of the connectivity of the food we eat to nature and to our health.  We develop a deeper appreciation of food and are more likely to adapt more sustainable life styles, make healthy food choices, and reduce food waste.

Food waste is a huge issue in the USA but the good news is that we can all do our part to end it. 

It is estimated that over 40% of all the food we grow ends up in landfills.  That is not acceptable and I believe that beginning at the local level as individuals we can change this.  We do have support from our government at a national level which I consider ironic since part of the reason we have such an unsustainable agricultural system in the USA is because of government subsidies of billions of taxpayer money that is paid to mega food corporations like Cargill and ConAgra every year.  

Still, my philosophy is that we should take advantage of the few programs offered that actually do benefit us.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency supports the sustainable management of food with their Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) program that is open to businesses and organizations.  Participants in this program prevent and divert wasted food from their operations by following the Food Recovery Hierarchy.  The Hierarchy recommends actions in the following order:  prevention, donation, composting and/or anaerobic digestion.  Among the national award winners in 2016 were Sprouts, Town of New Paltz, and Lanikai School ( k-12)

  Learn more about this program at

https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-frc

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