Fight the recession with gardens

Published 11:33 pm Monday, March 30, 2009

With bank failures and troubled auto makers monopolizing the headlines nearly every day, folks from the White House right on down to the house down the block are comparing today’s economic situation to that of the Great Depression. Though things may not be that bad yet, it’s clear that times are tough all over.

Families are losing their homes to foreclosure at an alarming rate, Baby Boomers are watching their retirement savings shrivel and wages have been unable to keep up with the rising cost of living.

One thing that’s needed in the current situation is a good dose of old-fashioned sensibilities. Americans need once again to learn to spend less than they earn, minimize their debt and do more with less.

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One great example of that kind of thinking is the old-fashioned vegetable garden, and a local group is working to raise awareness of the economic and health benefits of planting a garden at home. With two community gardens in the works in the city, the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community aims to raise some fruits and vegetables for area food banks and church pantries, but even more important, organizers hope to inspire others in the city to plant their own gardens.

In a society that places a high value on the simplicity and easy availability of prepackaged foods, gardening has become something of a lost art in America. Most folks would prefer to pick up vegetables from the local grocery store, rather than put in the time and effort it requires to grow them.

But swiping a debit card in the checkout lane doesn’t bring nearly the same level of satisfaction that harvesting lettuce one actually cultivated in the backyard can give. And the backyard garden will produce healthier food, as it lacks the additives that are found in much of the canned food found on store shelves.

Organizers hope that the two model gardens they’ve planted this year will grow to 40 planted across the city next year. You can be a part of that effort. All it takes is a patch of ground, a few seeds and plants and a little hard work. It’s a great way to help take control of your health and your pocketbook.