Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about community gardens and edible landscaping and their potential to change the way we think about food! If we travel back in time to about 100+ years ago, we would discover that we were a population of local eaters, ironically something that as of late, we are striving more and more to be like today! Every food we consumed was locally produced, as we didn’t have the food production technology or the means of food transportation then that we do now to preserve food or transport it miles across the country (or through continents) from where it was grown for consumption. And, back then, the chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease were not as prevalent as they are today.
As we visit our local grocery stores, do we really stop to consider where the food we purchase comes from or how many miles it traveled to get to our local store? Or, what the growing conditions were at its origin? Was the food grown organically or with the use of potentially harmful herbicides or pesticides? Giving all of these factors some consideration at the point of food selection may in fact change how we shop and foods we choose.
Now, imagine with me for a few minutes how amazing would it be if we could walk out of our own places of residence and have access to a myriad of edible plants any time of the year? Or imagine even further, walking down the streets of your local city and finding an array of available edible plants along every sidewalk in town? Now just consider the possibilities here for a few moments. Would this increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables consumed by the local populace? Would we run out, or would people take more than their fair share? How would this impact the incidence of chronic disease? Lots of questions there to ponder…….
It’s so nice to see that many local restaurants and grocery stores are trying more and more to source products that are locally grown and harvested. I am passionate about how our environment impacts our health, and I strive to be a part of the movement towards creating a healthy place for our children and future generations to live and enjoy. As a dietitian and health educator over the past 20+ years, I have come to realize that the education I provide can only go as far as the environment supports it. It’s challenging for people to make healthier choices if healthier choices are not immediately available in the areas where we live, work, and play. This definitely lends consideration to the potential role our environment has on our health.
Can you commit to being part of the revolution of change in creating a healthier planet for tomorrow? Why not become a voice of change in your own community? One plant…..one community garden at a time…….