Ask Flora-Making an Impact with my Garden

Ask Flora-Making an Impact with my Garden

Dear Flora:

How do I make a social impact with my garden? I would like to combine what I love with actually helping others.

~Socially-Conscious Garden Lover

Dear SCGL:

I commend you for thinking this way. If all gardeners did, we would make such a HUGE impact-we’d be reeling from it and so many would benefit. There are many, many ways that you can combine your love of gardening with your love of helping others. Here are a few:

  • Go Green– “The Green Gardener’s Guide” by Joe Lamp’l is a great start to reading about how we as gardeners affect our environment and how a few positive changes in our gardening habits can impact the entire earth for the greater good. Talk about a direct impact for generations to come!
  • Plant a Row for the Hungry-Why not? It doesn’t add much to your workload, and the people who must visit your local food bank will appreciate the donation more than you know. Get the whole family involved from planting to caring to harvesting to dropping your donation off. Read an article about it by Ann Lovejoy.
  • Plant Extra to Give-My mom feeds all three kid’s families and her neighbors with her multitudes of delicious tomatoes each year. All of us are grateful as it saves on the grocery bills and tastes like heaven on earth. My youngest goes directly to the garden to snack (the only person I’ve ever known to eat a tomato like an apple and put the remainder in the fridge!) when we visit during growing season.  My extra peas and cucumbers last year went to some of my neighbors.
  • Sell Harvest and Give-Make sure and check with your local government for laws on selling your harvest but I know a family who runs a roadside stand with home-grown veggies and home-baked goods, and donates the proceeds to various causes.
  • Think Far-Reach– Third-world hunger makes me sad, andveggie market angry too. Because it doesn’t have to be that way. People in our country and even other countries can be taught to be more self-sufficient, even in the worst of conditions. With training and mentoring, they could grow their own food and eat or sell it. Or, they could turn the donation of livestock or two into nourishment, income and an ongoing source of food for their families. How can you get involved? Rural Family Nutrition Initiative in Zimbabwe is an example of one way to do this.
  • Community Gardens-More than just a spot to rent, community gardens provide opportunities for socialization, teamwork, cooperation and a positive learning activity for all. They also work to train people in self-sufficiency and reaching out to others around them. Start a plot even if you have a home garden and use your time to reach out to other gardeners. Don’t have one locally? Consider starting one.
  • Robin MentoringReach Out– Use your garden to reach out to children in your neighborhood and teach them when they ask questions. Invite them to help as they can and watch a whole new crop of gardeners grow up because you reached out-and made an impact. Better yet, organize and help maintain a school garden for children in your community. You may have a Master Gardener look you up someday to thank you.

OK, readers! Your turn. Please comment and share other ways that we can combine our love of gardening with helping others.

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