Gardening is not by any means a new concept, people have tended plants since man learned how to grow food from seeds. What's relatively new, however, is urban gardening.
The future is green and Black people are here for it!
You might be wondering why you should care about growing food in containers. Let’s look at the numbers.
If you grew up in an overpopulated American city, chances are that you've heard about food deserts.
Food deserts are areas with limited access to affordable and quality fruits and vegetables, and historically, people of Black and Latino descent are most affected by this.
A study shows that low-income zip codes have 25% fewer chain supermarkets with fresh produce, and almost 2x more convenience stores with candy, chips, and soda for sale. There is a wide disconnect between what we need to thrive as a community and what is available to us.
Knowing the situation, we have to get hands-on about what goes into our food by planting fruits and veggies for our consumption.
The Role of the Pandemic
The lockdown due to the pandemic left many of us feeling disconnected from friends and family, and the world at large.
As lockdown extended from weeks into months, more people began exploring planting easy veggies on balconies, kitchen windowsills, and in every empty spot. Plant care-related searches were one of the most popular trends of last year, and it looks like that enthusiasm has come to stay.
Plant parents have testified that the patience and methodical care that plants require helped them feel less alone during the pandemic.
Low-income zip codes have 25% fewer chain supermarkets with fresh produce, and almost 2x more convenience stores with candy, chips, and soda for sale.
Why do black people need urban gardens?
Urban gardens are for everyone, but we will always advocate for black people to get even more involved in growing food wherever they can find the space.
1. Reduced carbon print
We are all responsible for the impact that we leave on the environment, especially those of us who live in the cities. Planting a garden is your small way of giving back to Mother Nature.
2. Mental and physical health benefits
This is a time of tremendous stress, especially for black people and other people of color. The best resistance against all the waves of bad news is to take charge of your mental health, and gardening has many mood-lifting benefits.
3. Cheap, healthy food
Growing a garden is cheap. No, really, think about how many tomato plants you can get from one ripe tomato, or how many heads of kale can grow from a single sprout. Gardening multiplies all your efforts.
What’s more, you can be sure of everything that goes into your food, from garden to table. All it takes is sunlight, water, and patience.
4. Economic advantage
Gardening encourages community and giving back! As a savvy gardener, you will definitely grow more than you can consume and preserve. Turn your "greens into greens" by setting up a cart in your neighborhood or selling the fresh produce at a farmers’ market.
You can also give away fresh produce to people who need them in your community.
5. Redefining Black people's relationship with the land
It is common knowledge that land has always been a difficult topic for Black people, especially in America. For a long time, land symbolized centuries of subjugation and unpaid labor.
A lot of us still have a lot to unpack. Our perception about land and farming has tended so much towards the negative, but there is a power in reclaiming that narrative by planting food for our benefit.
With resources for urban gardening on the rise, black people are reclaiming what it means to be a landowner - even when they don't own land.
The earth belongs to US, it is our responsibility to contribute to it as much as we can.
Plant a container garden today.