Happy New Year from the People’s Garden at Agape! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Maybe you’ve decided to exercise more. Or, perhaps your goal is to eat healthier. Maybe you want to save more money. Some people resolve to make more of an effort to help those less fortunate, while some have a more general goal of bettering their community. Coincidentally, all these goals can be accomplished by volunteering at the People’s Garden this year!
First, take exercise. According to the Purdue University Extension for Home Gardeners, the average adult can burn about 180 calories per half hour of weeding and other gardening activities. This spring, we will have enough weeds to pull, seeds to plant, raised beds to repair and debris to rake for you to meet all of your 2019 fitness goals.
In terms of eating better, did you know that as soon as fruits and vegetables are picked, they start losing nutrients? While that kale at Kroger may be easy to put in your cart, with a little extra work, you can plant your own kale and reap the benefits of more vitamins A and K. And, with the recent romaine lettuce E. coli scare, wouldn’t you rather know exactly where your lettuce comes from? You would if you planted it yourself! Plus, you will get the added benefit of saving money. A packet of seeds costs only a couple of dollars and will have you harvesting your favorite veggie for weeks. If yard space is a problem, we have raised beds for rent at the People’s Garden, plus tools to use, seeds and gardening advice.
If your resolutions this year focus more on giving back than on self-improvement, we’ve got you covered! The Agape food pantry provides food for an average of 1,000 families each month. As we mentioned last month, the People’s Garden contributed nearly 500 pounds of fresh produce to that effort. The joy of putting some freshly dug radishes or just-picked peppers into the hands of a grateful shopper cannot be easily replicated. If you want to do some good and feel good while doing it, the garden here awaits.
Finally, in these times of anger and divisiveness, it’s easy to feel discouraged and want to retreat into your own little cocoon. However, for those who resolve to build bridges, foster hope and make our community a place of true compassion and friendship, the People’s Garden is a great place to start. No matter what your background, race, religion or political persuasion, all are welcome to our little garden plot at 209 Brooklyn Ave. Break out of your cocoon and join us in the dirt!
For opportunities to get involved, look here for our new monthly columns, or call Agape at 498-4368.
The writer is a Master Gardener and a coordinator of the People’s Garden.