Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Planting With Prudence

By Aly Lewis

As Plant With Purpose’s Grant Writer I am charged with the task of describing our programs in detail to prospective foundations and funders. You know, explaining the endless benefits of trees—environmentally, financially, dare I say, spiritually—the way our programs are designed to involve entire communities, the inner workings of a family garden, and even attempting to elevate our composting toilets to the catchy status of “ecological latrine.” Lately I’ve been writing proposals for family gardens—how they diversify the family diet, reduce and eventually eliminate malnutrition, improve and expand varieties of food available to the community, and even create food surpluses so that families can sell and generate additional revenue.

But as I learn more and more about the benefits of family gardens and growing your own food, I start to feel like maybe I’m all talk—or in this case, text. So in our first stab at gardening solidarity, my roommate and I planted our own Earthbox last week. This self-contained garden that more closely resembles a plastic box with a shower cap than any garden I’ve ever seen will apparently “double the yield of a conventional garden- with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort.” We are now the proud (and somewhat frightened) parents of a cherry tomato plant, two spinach seedlings, and a strawberry plant. Thanks to the Earthbox, we’ll be growing our own salads in just 55-85 days. So here’s to eating local, diversifying our household diet, and joining with the farmers in the field on a journey toward self-sufficiency.

More container gardening adventures (and misadventures) to follow.

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