Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Garden Grows in January

Students periodically ask me about my job or how green roofs work. Below is an excerpt Q&A from a high school student inquiring about starting gardening club at school that I thought I'd share.

1) Why do you think that gardening is important to society?
There are many ways to describe gardening and what it means for different people. For some, they do it as a form of exercise and to be social, others enjoy the beautification of the containers and plans they put together and maintain. I take a very practical approach in that I want to grow plants for purpose- food for us, a habitat source for pollinators, and a way to mitigate the built environment.  Giving up turf grass and replacing it with plants that produce food, flavors, scents, color, and texture is very exciting and serves as a way to be self reliant.

2) What do you think the best part of a garden is?
I think the harvest is great, and educating others on the harvest is equally important. Knowing when something is ripe and how to eat it, or what the flowers are best to pick for a lasting bouquet, and how to share them with others is incredibly rewarding!

3) Is there anything else you would like to say?
Understanding where your food comes from is very important to society.  You may not personally enjoy a garden or farm, but you certainly rely on it for your meals.  Knowing what land management decisions are made by your neighbor does affect you, so knowing the basics of growing food in our ecosystem is vitally important regardless of your age. In 2001, I was interviewed by a student wondering about genetically modified foods.  My statement was the same- understand where your food comes from.  She laughed at me at the time, but has grown up to make educated choices on where to buy foods.  In our communities, we should be able to talk to the growers at farmers markets, buy food from the farms that share how they manage their crops, and choose to eat at restaurants that source local (or grow on their roofs!).
Food Roof
Gardening is fun, and you might meet some new people along the way who enjoy the same!