An initiative to convert two plots of land in Silver Spring into a community vegetable garden will add much needed community vegetable gardens to our area. It's just one creative step of many that can lead our society down a more sustainable path by spreading enthusiasm for widespread community involvement in food production.
The Montgomery County Parks Department will announce the opening of a community garden in a plot of land at the corner of King Street and Eastern Avenue. The currently big, grassy space will offer 21 plots of 200 square feet that can be rented out by community members. On Nov. 8, the Parks Department will hold a meeting to discuss the opening of another garden at the Fenton Street Urban Park on East-West Highway. This piece of land will offer about 30 plots. Currently, the King Street Community Garden is waiting on approval from a local 7-11, but it could conceivably be open by next spring.
Vegetable gardens help relieve our dependence on our unsafe nationalized food system that is dominated by agribusinesses import our fruits and vegetables from all around the country and world, wasting countless amounts of fuel. These gardens also have the added benefit of giving people a sense of accomplishment that comes with having put in the work to grow their food, and this hard work ultimately makes people eat more vegetables and be healthier. Community gardens bring these benefits while building a sense of community and shared responsibility as well as stewardship of a piece of land.
The benefits of community gardens would be magnified if the gardens were brought to county schools, where some of the extra grounds could be used for vegetable gardens. School gardens can potentially supplement the diets of students, making them and add fresh, local food to menus full of processed food shipped from a central kitchen. Community gardens can also teach students about the value of hard work and about being responsible for the land around you. But currently, MCPS has a ban on school vegetable gardens, however a coalition of parents and over 30 county organizations are working together to petition the overturn of this ban.
Their success and the rise of community gardens is necessary to improve the health of our community. A community garden is a small-scale innovation, a little piece of stewardship and responsibility that makes people healthier and happier.
Masha Lafen. More »