Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lose Your Head and Your Heart to—Dirt?

I recently attended an Earth Day event that featured a gourmet meal that was entirely homegrown and handmade. Not only was it absolutely delicious, but also knowing it was locally grown made it even more palatable.  A shining example of what most of us can do for our own well being—health-wise, dollar-wise, and even the now well-worn cliché of greening the planet.

Grow your own vegetables and fruits, or buy from local people who do. You can find providers here in South Dakota by the internet, word of mouth, a visit to the Farmers Market, or find an excellent listing of producers in a  “Local Foods Directory” published by Dakota Rural Action of Brookings.  Their phone number is 605-697-5204 and the booklet is free for the asking. It includes growers of various meats, eggs, vegetables of any and all sorts, fruits, wines, _________ the list goes on.

Please plan to grow some food of your own. Most yards have at least a corner that will accommodate fresh salad greens or a tomato plant or two, or whatever your palate desires. How about a dwarf fruit tree in your yard? Even apartment dwellers can do container gardening.  Vertical gardening is a new thing. Your local greenhouse, master gardeners, or even your neighbor with a green thumb can help you get started if you are timid about starting a vegetable patch large or small, or filling a pot or two of fresh edibles.  Believe me, gardening is therapeutic, both mentally and physically. It helps weight loss, heart health and more, and don’t you just drool over the thought of biting into a you-grown tomato. Or bring on the eye-candy images of colorful peppers or kale or many other colorful edibles that can be growing a few feet from your door.

I can go into the statistics of not eating food that is grown 2000 miles away, or from other countries that have lower standards of pesticides and processing for their exported foods, but you already know that, I bet. There is no melamine or pesticides in my garden, and your piece of dirt won’t either. There are safe and natural pesticides if absolutely needed; just ask your county extension office or again, your local greenhouse grower or organic gardener. They say you are what you eat! Who are you?

If I’m singing to the choir for those who already garden and love it, I say Stand Proud and spread the word. Our parents and/or grandparents who gardened as a way of life were thrifty, healthy people. We can be no less.

Excuse me now. I have to finish planting my garden.

 LA Andersen


No comments: