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edu180atl: muriel knope 4.16.12

I’m a novice gardener.  Today, while reading a seed packet, I learned that sorrel stays green even when the temperature dips to 10 degrees.  From experienced gardeners, I’ve learned how to start sweet potato slips using an organic sweet potato.  The conventional ones are sprayed to keep them from sprouting.  I’ve learned that tatsoi grows in winter here and strawberries don’t mind a dusting of snow.  Luckily, I’m puttering at the community garden, rather than trying to survive on what I grow. 

Not long ago, we were an agricultural nation.  We relied on what we grew to feed our families.  Everyone knew when the soil was warm enough to plant peas.  Gardening was a survival skill.

Last October, the DeKalb County Board of Health hosted a Food Forum where I learned that there are more than a dozen identified “food deserts” in my county, neighborhoods where families cannot buy fresh produce.  It’s simply unavailable.  Yet zoning laws in many areas restrict gardening and urban agriculture.  County studies also show high rates of obesity and diabetes.

Soon, gardeners and farmers will offer input on revisions to zoning codes.  Let there be gardens.  In my yard, I’d plant tomatoes instead of turf.  No more food deserts.  Citizens could grow their own fresh greens.  Every school could have a garden.  Let them eat veggies.  Let there be farms and food security.  And better health.  Then we can all keep learning.

Muriel has been a public school teacher, freelance writer and homeschooling mom.  Gardening offers her endless opportunities to learn new stuff.


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