News & Updates

July 22, 2016

Curing the Environment through Gardening

We have been thinking a lot about food forests here at ReScape as we expand our programs statewide. Urban landscapes have the potential to conserve water, provide habitat for wildlife, nurture the soil–ideas that we have been teaching in the Bay Area for the last 7 years. Gardens can be healing green oases in our otherwise concrete urban environment. But we also know that gardens can do even more–they can grow food to feed our families and communities. Urban agriculture has the potential to address a myriad of issues associated with urbanization including climate change, a flawed global food system, and food insecurity, especially in our inner-city neighborhoods. As a trusted resource for sustainable landscape design and maintenance practices, we hope to expand the conversation to include edibles and food forests that can “[improve] a piece of the world.”

“Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating. The food he grows will be fresher, more nutritious, less contaminated by poisons and preservatives and dyes than what he can buy at a store. He is reducing the trash problem; a garden is not a disposable container, and it will digest and re-use its own wastes. If he enjoys working in his garden, then he is less dependent on an automobile or a merchant for his pleasure. He is involving himself directly in the work of feeding people.

…A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has set his mind decisively against what is wrong with us. He is helping himself in a way that dignifies him and that is rich in meaning and pleasure. But he is doing something else that is more important: he is making vital contact with the soil and the weather on which his life depends. He will no longer look upon rain as an impediment of traffic, or upon the sun as a holiday decoration. And his sense of man’s dependence on the world will have grown precise enough, one would hope, to be politically clarifying and useful.”

 

“Think Little” By Wendell Berry
from A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural & Agricultural reprinted in the Whole Earth Catalog 1969

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