Our gardener Justin took June to reflect on his own experience gardening, as well as the broader health and societal implications that can come growing your own food. See what Justin has to say below:

I grew up with my mom creating a garden wherever we lived. She always had marigolds, sunflowers, lilacs, and other flowers adorning our walkways and windows. This is where I gained my first awareness and appreciation for the natural world. Seeing various animals like snakes, rabbits, deer, and moles visit our handiwork also showed me how every living thing contributes to the functioning of the world.

When gardening, it’s easy for us to feel a reconnection to the natural world and escape our confines to the technology of the 21st century. In a sense, it’s a return home to mother nature and the soil. It puts us back in touch with the natural cycle of seasons, the rain, watching for the first and last freezes, while also keeping a watch out for pests and animals that may want to destroy the plants.  Numerous studies show that getting outside and playing in the dirt is great for both our physical and mental health. Also, eating fresh vegetables from home gardens are about as healthy as it gets.

Many people became aware of how fragile our systems used by grocery stores were when COVID-19 happened, and store shelves started to get bare. Growing at least a portion of our food supplies and learning to preserve them seems to be one of the most important skills a person should learn. This used to be very common, as many people have memories of canning vegetables and meat with their grandmothers. Recent events have brought about discussions of bringing this practice back as the luxury of having 24/7 access to all of our necessities have become threatened.