Love the Earth A Billion & 10,000 Ways

By Linda Wiggen Kraft
Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

It is the little things that add up to make big changes. When it comes to the health of the earth and the health of our bodies the simple act of growing a vegetable garden can have big impact for both the earth and our health.

This year the international Earth Day Network is asking people and communities to pledge to be part of “A Billion Acts of Green”. One of the pledges is to “grow a garden”, and another is to “eat more local food”. By growing a vegetable garden, both pledges can be made with one action. Go online to (www.earthday.org) to register and be counted.

In mid March of this year, The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced a challenge for Missouri families and groups to grow 10,000 vegetable gardens and to register online (www.agrimissouri.com). Part of the website is a map that shows the total number of gardens in each zip code. Individual and family gardens are counted in the total. Group gardens are counted and also recognized with the name of the garden and its address. In addition there is incentive to register, in hopes that your registration is number 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 and so on, up to 10,000. Those numbers will each win a $500 gift certificate from a corporate sponsor.

A vegetable garden is a loose term for any garden growing plants we eat. It includes herbs, vegetables, fruits and nuts. An edible garden can be as small as one plant in a pot, to acres of plants all grown for food. It can be a garden of shrubs and trees that provide berries, fruits and nuts year after year, in addition to something that only grows for one season. The satisfaction of tasting fresh homegrown takes only one bite.

The freshest food is the most nutritious. Growing it at home or a nearby garden means the trip from ground to your mouth may only be a few feet versus sometimes thousands of miles and continents away which is how far food often travels at the grocery store. The shorter the trip the food takes, the healthier it is for the earth. It is also fresher and healthier for you.

Pledging to do something is an incentive that helps us commit to actually doing something. It also helps us realize that our commitment is shared with others. Sometimes pledging brings out the competitive spirit of seeing how many others you can inspire to make pledges for a healthier world. Whatever the inspiration, pledge today to grow a garden, to eat locally grown food and to make the world a better place as one of a billion and ten thousand Acts of Green.

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