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  • Debi Stafford

Gardening is awesome!

Glen and I love to garden. Each year we expand our little garden a few more rows and dream big for the summer. And by July, we're usually chasing squirrels from the corn, handing out tomatoes and cucumbers to our neighbors, and looking forward to a fall frost to end all the sweaty work!

As our nation moved from rural to city and suburban living at the beginning of the 1900s, farming became less and less popular. Gardening was revived during World War II when President Roosevelt encouraged families to grow their Victory Gardens to help with the cause of the war. Then after the war brought all sorts of conveniences --processed cheese-like substances, TV dinners, and sliced bread that rarely molded! We got pasteurized dairy and egg products which reduced foodborne illnesses as well as denatured the enzymes, proteins, and probiotics of our foods. And when good ole McDonald's took off, there was no stopping the supply of food-like substances we now consume in America.

As a child, I helped (well, maybe complained a lot & helped a little) my parents and grandparents with summer gardens. I marveled at how good fresh-picked corn cooked in an iron skillet with some farm-fresh butter tasted. I loved the smell of onions being pulled from the ground and loved snapping beans with my Grannies on their front porches. As my grandparents and father passed away and I grew up, I forgot the joys of growing food.

When my Jess was around 2, we planted some broccoli in the back yard. She would ask if we could cut the "wittle twees." She would watch Sesame Street while dunking her freshly grown broccoli in MSG-laden ranch dressing -- at least I was trying! Then life happened and not much food was grown.

Now that the kids are grown, I'm rediscovering the joys of gardening. The empty store shelves around this time last year was a good reminder that we are only one crisis away from a serious food problem. Then what will we do? I mean, I need to lose a few pounds, but gross starvation isn't my preferred method!

I encourage everyone reading my blog to consider growing something. If you are in an apartment, a tomato or cucumber plant will grow easily in a pot. Green peppers are another easy one. Some berry varieties grow in pots, too. Growing food is an excellent science experiment -- that's what I call it when my growing goes awry, I was trying a new science experiment!

My suggestion is to look for non-GMO, organic seeds and plants. Non-GMO means there has been no laboratory splicing of the genetics of the plants, only natural pollination. Organic means there have been no pesticide chemicals used in the production of the seeds/plants. Seeds may be a little more difficult to come by, per this recent article from NPR:

If you need or want to learn more about gardening, here are some of my favorite links:

Happy gardening!

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