"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves." Gandhi
Our yard is small compared to some, large compared to others, a 16th of an acre, located on the end of a quiet street corner. I consider it a blessing to have a small piece of land to work with, especially in the presence of my children.
In reference to gardening I think of the old adage “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach him to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”. Both of my children spend their summers in the garden. My son is 1 so most of the day is spent trying to keep mouthfuls of dirt from being devoured but my daughter will be 4 this fall and she has an impressive amount of knowledge for someone so young. She knows which herbs in her mothers garden are safe to eat and luckily for us would rather snack on a fist full of chives or sage rather than potato chips. She understands that in the spring we place our seeds in the ground and that throughout the year if we take care of the plants they will in return provide us with food or simply something beautiful to look at in the case of my wife’s flower gardens. I am not humble in the least bit when I say that my wife and I have provided her with a skill that will help her out the rest of her life, as long as she is physically able to garden she will always be able to provide for herself. She has a larger vocabulary in regards to gardening than a lot of adults I know and I am very proud of this fact.
It is exciting to explore the yard with her. Whenever a new flower blooms or a vegetable is ripe enough to pick there is a genuine enthusiasm that radiates from her core and it is contagious! She keeps you on your toes as well asking questions and forcing you to expand your own library of knowledge, my little teacher.
We live in a society in which there is really a lost connection between the garden, or the farm, and the food on our table. The ability to grow our own food has been forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Trips to the grocery store result in complaints about food prices without a thought of cutting out the middle men and growing your own. Having land to do so is certainly a convenience but a small patio or sunny window in an apartment complex can have amazing results with a bit of creativity. There are obvious health benefits associated but the point that tends to be overlooked is that growing your own food is empowering!