What Will We Garden: The Search for Healthy Local Plants, Part 1

| 6/9/2010 3:50:03 PM

CindyMurphyBlog.jpgBack in February, I attended a program at the local college titled, “What Will We Eat: The Search for Healthy Local Food.” The answer to the question sounds pretty obvious: you go to a local store, fruit market, or farm, and buy healthy, locally grown or produced food, and Voila! Search over. There was more to the program though; after watching a short film of the same name, there was a discussion led by a panel of organic small farmers, and local Transition Initiative members.

Those in attendance heard history about how we ended up getting so detached from our food, the need for community involvement to reinvent our food system, and how we need to think about where our food comes from; it would not only produce a healthier lifestyle, but also healthier communities, both socially and economically.

Currently in this country, there’s disconnection between consumers and local farms. People should – and want – to know their farmers. Buying local bridges that distance, bringing communities closer together. Economically, communities are revitalized as money is recycled back into the local system – an average of 80 cents per dollar. It’s not just agricultural businesses – the same is true of all locally produced goods. Horticultural businesses are another example. Do you know where your plants come from?

Where are your plants grown?

A Sunday afternoon in early April, Keith and I went on a date to the home improvement box-store (both of us work full time, and often more than 5 minutes spent together without the kids is considered a “date”). We wanted to get fencing for the vegetable garden before it was time to plant. On the way to the fencing, we passed through a flurry of activity – the store’s garden center had just opened for the season. Shasta daisies, perennial salvia, and daylilies were in full bloom. Hostas were fully leafed out. Hanging baskets of impatiens and petunias flew off the shelves into people’s carts. Petunias!!! In April! In Michigan! If I would have looked, I probably would have found tomato and pepper plants, too.

I didn’t have time to look, though. Keith quickly ushered me passed the plants and on to the fencing section of the store ... not because I’d have the urge to buy something, but because I’m sure he was afraid I’d warn people that it was way too early for daisies to be blooming and to put annuals outside. Shoot, our perennials at the nursery were just starting to poke their noses out of the ground after winter.

Michelle House
6/26/2010 1:24:05 PM

Cindy, it is the good stuff that rubbed off on me. lol. The teepee is getting there, really dry here, so I gotta water alot. Hugs Michelle

Cindy Murphy
6/23/2010 3:23:02 PM

Hey, Michelle. That thing that rubbed off on you - I hope you consider it a good influence and not a bad one. Let me know when you run out of containers and are still buying plants - I'll send in reinforcements. There has to be a Plant Buyers Anonymous or some such support group. Hope your teepee for the grandkids grows big and lush. Our bean teepee in the kid's garden at work is underwater with all the rain we've had.

Michelle House
6/23/2010 1:38:28 PM

Hi Cindy, nice article, I am doing some container gardening this year, bought some lavender plants, and am growing a plant teepee for the grands. Your love of gardening has rubbed off on me. lol Hugs Michelle

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