Day 55–Community Gardens

Austin TX

“It is what it is, but will become what you make of it.”  Pat Summit

Spring is just around the corner here in North Carolina, and we are looking forward to planting our garden. I have mentioned before that we have some challenges (some extreme shade, some hot spots, horse-sized mosquitoes and LOTS of tree roots). I’m not only interested in having a successful gardening year for our family, but I am also interested in expanding access to fresh food. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been rewarding to find new local sources for our food and to post recipes and blog about our journey, but a larger issue is nagging at me. While I’m frolicking at the farmer’s markets, packing organic produce in my “green” Trader Joes bags, other families are having trouble finding any access to healthy, fresh food. Living in “food deserts,” these families, children, elders are often dependent on highly processed, overpriced foods available at local convenience stores. And there are many more folks who might have access to fresh food, but have no idea what they are eating (e.g., me six months ago). Food access and food literacy. Two huge issues affecting the health of many families in my area.

So I can let it nag at me, or I can see this as an opportunity for another part of our journey. Maybe I just have the zeal of the newly converted or maybe this is where I’m meant to go. Hard to tell at this point 🙂 In any case, an opportunity came our way and we are seizing it and we will see where it takes us.

Advocates for Health in Action is hosting a “Dig In” workshop focusing on building, maintaining and sustaining community gardens in our area. Topics for the 1/2 day program include garden planning, school gardening, legal issues, fundraising, organic gardening, bee keeping and more. The program looks like so much fun that our whole family is going! I feel fortunate to have this level of enthusiasm for not only improving our garden, but helping with a larger community gardening initiative. The event is in March and we will definitely blog about what we learned!

Taking this locavore journey is shaping us in ways we never expected (but I guess that’s why it’s a journey!). And taking up Lady Vols coach Pat Summit’s challenge, we will see what we can make of it.


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  1. Love your journey! Thanks for sharing information about Advocates for Health in Action’s “Dig In” on March 10 in Raleigh! Look forward to seeing you there!

  2. Community outreach mission for sure… When I am grocery shopping and I see a cart overflowing with cheese curls, giant cases of soda, and big boxes of processed flash frozen fried chicken… don’t get me wrong… I love a cheese curl and a nice cold can of Coke, but when it’s all that’s in the cart it stresses me out. Is it a conscious decision? Or with all the information available do people really not know better? Do they not know how to buy produce? Or prepare it? Is it laziness? Now you know what I’m thinking when I stand in line at the grocery… well that and how does Kate Walsh look so dang good in the buff at 43? Bet she has a garden 🙂

      • Heather, it’s true. And I do enjoy a bad treat now and then. That’s really what keeps us all going on a hard day! But really, the processed food industry has done so much to not only convince us that we are too busy to cook whole foods, but also to think that somehow processed foods are “healthy”. And really, that is all a crock. Stir frying kale or spinach or bok choi as a side takes no more time than heating up mac and cheese in the microwave. And it’s actually cheaper. And, I don’t know, it’s actually good for you! So while there are certainly people who don’t give a flip about what they eat (and that’s ok), there are lots of other people buying products they think are good for them, but really they are mostly filler/sugar/low quality. My biggest concern, though, is that there are so many teenagers growing up completely disconnected from their food and from the process of cooking, that they are, in a sense, growing up nutritionally illiterate. And really, that only helps perpetuate a bad cycle. And I wonder about Kate Walsh, too. What is UP with that? Apparently I need a personal trainer…and a garden!

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