April 14, 2022, was National Gardening Day.
Did you know that?
Established in 2018, National Gardening Day encourages everyday folks like you and me to go out there and get our hands in the dirt. You know…get out in nature.
Plant some seeds.
Water your watermelons.
And grow your own food.
Is there anything more delectable than a ripe tomato off the vine, ruby red, bursting with flavor?
Nope. There isn’t.
Is there anything more delightful than a handful of sun-warmed blueberries popped straight into your mouth?
I don’t think so.
You may be thinking: I know zero things about gardening.
Don’t worry! You’re not alone.
Bonnie Plants, the largest grower of home gardening plants, says that during covid, 20 million first-time gardeners picked up a trowel for the first time.
And the number just keeps growing!
There is something magical about putting a seed in the ground and seeing it sprout and flourish into a giant cucumber.
Or a bunch of basil.
Or head of lettuce.
But the best thing about growing your own food is that you can share the bounty with those around you.
All of those extra tomatoes and blueberries that you don’t know what to do with can go to your elderly neighbor Phyllis or the girls in your book club.
They will be eternally grateful.
Sharing our abundance of food is a fabulous way to be generous.
Our ancestors knew all about it.
Gardening is in Our Roots
At the end of the American Revolution, 97% of Americans lived in rural areas.
Can you believe it?
Almost everyone grew their own food and a great majority made their living by farming.
One of the main reasons for the expansion of our country was that farmers needed land to grow their crops.
It’s more than likely that somehow, somewhere, a few generations back, you had a farmer in your family tree.
So, you just need to tap into that generational pull of working the land (or your small sun-soaked patio) to get started.
And then follow that same ancestral pattern of coming together to share what you’ve grown:
Early American farming communities regularly came together to help one another, sharing food, resources, and knowledge.
We need more of that right about now, don’t we?
The USDA says that in 2021, 38 million Americans (including 12 million kids), were food insecure. That is a whole lot of folks not sure where their next meal is coming from.
Looks like we need to get back to our roots and share some of the good stuff with each other.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were a part of filling some rumbling tummies with food and some hearts with hope?
Get in on the Gardening Fun
You may be thinking, Hey, ILG, I would love to have a garden but I live in a tiny studio apartment in the middle of a booming city.
Here’s the cool thing – not only are home gardening numbers on the rise –
so are community garden numbers – in booming cities just like yours.
There are over 600 community gardens in New York City alone.
Your green thumb doesn’t have to go to waste.
Jump online and find out where the nearest community garden is near you and sign right up.
In being generous with your time, your efforts in a community garden have multi-layered benefits.
Many community gardens have U-pick options so that you can taste all that fresh goodness yourself.
Surplus is sent to local food banks to help those who are in need.
School lunch programs can also benefit from the fresh produce.
Other gardens partner with local farm-to-table restaurants and the profits are reinvested back into the gardens.
So pick up that trowel and go grow some goodness.
Being generous has never been so delicious!
Susanna Aughtmon is a gifted writer, wonderful wife, mother, daughter and friend, and a valued member of the I Like Giving team.