Gardening for Body and Soul
Today, gardening is the number 1 hobby in America. This ranking, in part, is driven by millennials and based on a 2014 Home Garden Panel study which found that people aged 18-30 are purchasing seeds to grow produce in their own backyards. Whether directly or indirectly, these millennials are answering the call of the First Lady, Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity. Advocacy for better labeling on food products and promoting the benefits of fruits and vegetables has never been so important. To demonstrate her commitment to this cause, the First Lady even started a ‘Victory Garden’ in the front lawn of the White House. To nurture this philosophy even further, she annually invites local school children from the Washington D.C. area to educate them about the growing process and instill good eating habits. Needless to say, Mrs. Obama has and is imparting a positive influence in greening a whole generation.
The whole food movement from farm to table is not new to people who live in predominantly Asian nations. Most Asian marketplaces consist of farmers directly selling their fresh produce and most Asians live a lifestyle dedicated to the philosophy that a diet high in fresh leafy green vegetables promotes good blood flow which aids in good health. While this holistic approach is part of their food culture, medical experts would agree that eating a diet of leafy green vegetables that are high in fiber, minerals and vitamins can help combat heart disease, diabetes and perhaps cancer.
In most urban sprawls, there are areas that are blighted by years of neglect and most major cities are discovering that these plots of land can be beneficial to the vitality and the renewal of certain communities. Urban/Community gardening is taking hold as an alternative to the lack of supermarkets or fresh fruits and vegetables. This movement started in part because people saw land that could provide the community a focal point to educate about healthy eating habits and that demanding better, healthier eating is for everyone and not just the privileged few. This revolution is not about to flitter and currently every major city in the U.S. has a community garden.
Maybe it took the 2007 economic recession, maybe it was the First Lady’s efforts to bring healthy eating to the forefront or maybe we are becoming more aware that ‘you are what you eat’. ‘Victory Gardens’ are nothing new in this country but maybe we started realizing that we were losing a connection to the earth. By putting one’s hand in the soil and toiling in the dirt, watering and waiting for the fruits of one's labor, we can see that if we love the earth just a little, it will love us back tenfold.