Taking action to save the World
I found out about Kitchen Garden Internationa (KGI) though a TED talk by Roger Doiron. http://www.ted.com/talks/roger_doiron_my_subversive_garden_plot.html?utm.... In it he talked about how starting a garden could be subversive. It was a great talk and I was moved but then I had already been a big believer in the points he brought up.
I grew up a city boy in Detroit, Michigan. I knew *very* little about gardening and I've never wanted a huge yard as I have no desire to maintain a lawn. So when I moved to Mesa, Arizona and found a house it wasn't with a yard in mind. In 1999 I found a big house with a minimal yard. A few years later however I watched a youTube video about community gardens and was hooked on the idea. From the opportunities to socialize to the use of common tools and resources, to the availability of Gardening Gurus, suddenly gardening made sense in my head. It would be like open source gardening I thought. I couldn't find any in Arizona but I decided to keep a look out. From 2010 to 2012 I took on a project in Santa Monica, CA. Community Gardens seems to be all over the place. I had already been a Vegetarian for 21 years but in early 2012 after having watched the Documentary "Forks over Knives" I decided to make the jump to becoming a Vegan. Santa Monica has a lot of great Vegan restaurants. As I began eating less and less processed foods, the idea of growing my own food just seemed to make more sense. In late 2012 I found out that Mesa Community College had its own community garden. MCC is 7 miles from my house, but offered everything I was looking for. I quickly grabbed a 10'x5' plot for myself. So now I had a place to grow food but no idea how to actually go about doing so. I happened to mention to my friend Lisa Atkins about my new community plot and she suggested that I read "Square Foot Gardening". It was perfect, exactly the kind of gardening that I wanted to do. Suddenly everywhere I went it seemed that people had been reading SFG and had great results (My dentist apparently is a huge fan). Youtube is a wonderful resource on how to do thing. Everyday I was watching videos of square foot gardeners, and taking small actions like pulling weeds from my plot and putting down weed cloth with my friends, ordering Non-hybrid seeds online, or building 4'x4' boxes to grow my veggies in. Suddenly I was clipping hot sauce recipes and finding out how to prepare Kale. When I began reading Michael Pollen's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" I was convinced that not only could my garden be healthier for me, it had the power to change the world. No more need to get caught up in the GMO or organic debate. I could grow my own and know *exactly* what was in my food. I could share what I learned with others and they could grow their own. I could reduce my carbon foot print by not needing my food imported from all over the world (I ride my bike to the garden). My personal and the global benefits of having a garden seemed staggering. Then I watched Roger's video and I realized I wasn't the only one who felt this way. That there was actually a moment of like minded people. People who encouraged the White House to start a garden. People who saw not only the advantages for themselves but how important it would be to get the word out to others. They had already created a website with tools to help in the planning and designing of gardens, and a community of people willing to help someone who didn't know what they were doing. I hear there are other communities out there like this and I want to find them all. I like being reminded that there are people out there working toward solutions instead of simply bemoaning problems. Now when I bike 14 miles I'm not just going to a garden or even getting a workout, I'm reducing air pollution. When I'm designing my garden, I'm mapping out a save the world strategy. Watering my crops can be more decisive than firing a gun in the revolution to creating a safe and sane world. You may think it's over the top to view growing lettuce as something of import. But for me I'm convinced I'm saving the world.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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