Black Community: We Might Need to Grow Food.

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( I had the best chat with an elder in my neighborhood while she was picking her vegetables from her garden. It was the cutest thing I had seen in a long time. She was gathering her greens, beans, peppers, and some squash. As she was working, she allowed me to help as best I could and began explaining the origins of her garden. Initially it was created to assist her health. It was explained that initially she was not a fan of the outdoors, I could understand because I’m not either, but realized that she had serious vitamin deficiencies. Some were due to diet and a lack of a good vitamin, but then there was the vitamin d deficiency that a supplement didn’t seem to fix for her. She went on to explain that her doctor informed her she needed to be outside even if it was for a short time and needed to do so consistently.

Black Community: We Might Need to Grow Food.

In addition to this she was looking for ways to relieve stress in a manner that would prevent blood pressure issues. I often had friends that would talk about their love of growing their food because it relieved stress. There was an excitement to seeing the different crops grow and the stages by which they grew. My neighbor also spoke to her garden forcing her movement when she didn’t feel like it, or she was in a bit of a depressed state. She has to go water and tend to the plants, or they wouldn’t produce the harvest she wanted…or worst case they would die. She explained that there was something about putting one’s hands to the soil, to life, that was therapeutic. It also gave her something to do that was productive…like she has business to tend to verses getting caught up in what she calls the gossip and foolishness of the day. As I assisted my neighbor with gathering the greens I began to think there was a bit more to this than just the health benefits.

When we go to the grocery store the produce section is comprised of several origins. Some of it may be local while a good portion is outsourced. At different times fresh produce can become very costly, but it is so needed for our nutrition. When the country is in crisis, we see the is in any sort of crisis we tend to see it at the grocery store and the gas station. Maybe we should consider growing food individually, and even as a community, as a way to help reduce food costs. Doing this could also help us take care of each other. We could better see to the wellbeing of our elders and children in community. I remember my sister friend’s family loved growing vegetables; they all grew different things as they would share the harvest amongst themselves, and with those in their community. Everyone on the block had fresh greens, okra, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, lemons, and berries. This is something that can teach our children another aspect of self-reliance, responsibility, value for life, good nutrition habits, and care for our fellow neighbors.

What if growing fruits and vegetables could help reduce the crime we see surging, especially amongst our youth. In addition to the values, it could teach it will also positively monopolize their time. Less time on the corner means less chances of getting in trouble. They will also be able to see concepts they encounter in the classroom at school, especially in math and science, be put to use in their everyday life.

I am grateful that I came outside and had a conversation with my neighbor. She was such a blessing to me in explaining why she grows her fruit and vegetables, and what her garden means to her. It led me to talking to my sister who is also growing vegetables and her children partake in the process, and absolutely love it. They love watching everything grow, and being able to eat what they are growing. My health won’t allow me to maintain my own garden, but my neighbor has offered me the opportunity to assist her as she works her garden. This is the kind of community building these kinds of activities can create.

Needless to say, I don’t need to go by vegetables for a bit and that is the other benefit. If we are being honest, we never know what tomorrow will bring in terms of natural disasters, and issues within our country and world. Having ways to feed ourselves that don’t solely rely on the grocery store is something we all need to consider. Everything doesn’t have to go in the ground. Where space is restricted, we might need to get out big pots ready and start planting. It could be more fun than we imagined.

Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

May also connect with this sister via Twitter; ChelleStJames.

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