While supporting local farmers, eating organic foods and eating lower on the food chain are all healthy and helpful, gardening is the hands-on way to connect with the beautiful biodiversity of God’s good earth. It is the most direct way to make sure food, seeds and the knowledge of growing food stays in the local community. It is also a way to make sure heirloom plants do not become extinct and that your produce is raised exactly with your standards.
When it comes to climate change, small gardens with a variety of plantings may be a good way for local communities to prepare for the droughts and floods that may continue to increase, as well as a good way to fight the possible food shortages related thereto. Finally, gardening is a fun way to teach children empathy for the earth and their responsibility to care for it.
- Patronize local nurseries and garden stores.
- Look for seeds and seedlings that have not been genetically modified. For the most part, certified organic seeds should not be genetically modified. Also, you can collect your own seeds from any plants that have bolted at the end of the season or exchange seeds with other gardeners.
- Choose heirloom varieties of plants in order to keep biodiversity going for future generations.
- Garden organically, managing insects and weeds without pesticides. Search for organic gardening tips on the Internet, or ask at your local garden store.
- Search the Internet or ask around to find “master gardeners” or “master composters” in your community and find out if they are willing to help get you started or point you to the best local resources.
- Work with others if you are able. Community gardens enable people to share expertise, try different plants, exchange produce and look after one another’s plots when needed.
- Make or buy rain barrels to collect water for your garden from your roof. The energy used to transport and treat the water that runs out of your tap for five minutes would power a 60-watt lightbulb for 14 hours. See this Web site for instructions on building and installing a rain barrel.
Walking the Talk
Cedar Grove United Methodist Church in Cedar Grove, N.C., opened the Anathoth Community Garden on its grounds in 2005 as a way to help bring people together across boundaries of race, socioeconomic class, age and gardening experience. The cooperative effort required all participants to work in the garden and share in the organic produce, which created a sense of community and reconciliation.
(From the Web site of the NCC’s Eco-Justice Program)
“The Holy God took the human one and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (