When I read articles like this one, shared by a friend, I am reminded of those terraced mountain and hillsides in Italy, China and elsewhere in the world where people labour over producing their food on the only remaining land available to them. How lucky we are to still have so many options as to where and how we grow and or obtain our food. More and more people are choosing a vegetable based diet. Stories like this one and the success of Cranbrook's new Community Garden only prove that indeed we may becoming full circle. This gives new meaning to the war time phrase, "Dig for Victory."
For the whole article:
Gardens that grow more than food
In January, the CBC reported that almost half the organic fresh fruits and vegetables that were tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency from September 2011 to September 2013 had pesticide residue. About 80 per cent of that produce was imported, with the remainder Canada-grown.
And, in this age of dwindling water sources and oil angst, why are we importing sugar snap peas from China or grapes from Chile? The natural resources used to grow and then get those luxury products to us are an obscene waste.
But there’s more than the tiresome moralizing about the values of growing your own healthy food. A little garden spot supplies mental nourishment. While yanking weeds, I hear birds chirping, stop to nibble raw spinach and admire my neighbour’s sunflowers. Whatever’s bugging me gets left on the big compost heap. Some days I go to the garden to soak up the green peace.
As Richard Louv, author of the influential book Last Child in the Woods, told me, “The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need.” The American author’s bestselling book was a wake-up call to get children back to the outdoors. “We need nature. We don’t do so well when we don’t have it.” he said.
Recognizing the benefits of nature, U.S. physicians are “prescribing nature,” telling patients to get out and exercise, Louv said. He mentioned a study of one group of people who exercised on a treadmill in a gym and a second group that did “green exercising” (hiking, callisthenics) outside. Both groups burned the same number of calories but the outside gang displayed better blood pressure and other health indicators than the inside automatons. And in a nod to environmentally conscious interests, baby boomers don’t want golf courses in their retirement communities. “They want nature trails,” he says. Gardens could follow.
It’s funny that what used to be commonplace and a way of life, like growing your own potatoes and carrots, disappeared as progress made our lives easier, but perhaps less healthy. It’s coming full circle, as the numerous benefits, beyond merely the good food, are apparent and we again head outside to work the soil and rest the mind.