Be Healthy: Grow a Community Garden!

Fresh air, sunshine, the smell of freshly turned dirt…it gets into a farmer’s blood and never leaves. As they say, you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. Charlie is no exception. After decades of farming near Kearney, he and his wife sold their land and retired to a mobile home in Lincoln.

Unfortunate events had left the couple with little more than Social Security to sustain them. Other than a tomato plant near their trailer, years went by without Charlie having a chance to grow. Then during a FoodNet pickup, Charlie learned about the Crops community garden at Oak Lake Church. He signed up for a plot, and on the first day of the season hobbled to the garden with his cane to give it a try. Throughout the season, he tended crops and swapped ideas with fellow growers.

The country boy in Charlie blossomed. Just being among the plants, in the fresh air, with dirt under his fingernails, was a kind of harvest—Improved health. By the summer’s end, Charlie didn’t even need his cane! The physical exercise from gardening–repeated up and down movements, standing for short periods of time and turning the soil with a shovel proved effective for Charlie to rehabilitate his physical limitations. The hard work, and improved diet, also helped Charlie shed some extra weight, which in turn contributed to his improved physical health.

Stories like Charlie’s confirm what we at Community Crops have been preaching for more than a decade–growing your own food is about more than fresh produce. It’s about the health of your whole body. For more information and to find out how you can join one of our twelve community garden sites, explore our website.