By Becky Volk
Social Media Specialist, Tarrant Area Food Bank
Connecting with the natural environment around us and learning how to care for our planet’s resources can be easier than you think. Earth Day is here and people are celebrating their appreciation for this unique planet.
Earth Day gave voice to groups in the U.S. who were concerned about our planet’s natural resources, according to the Earth Day Network. Concerned individuals came together and channeled their energy toward raising awareness of environmental issues and how these issues could affect the communities people live in. Over the years, Earth Day has led to the development and adoption of laws created to protect our natural resources. Today, Earth Day is celebrated worldwide.
Plants, Produce and Pollinators
Community and backyard gardeners join in Earth Day celebrations across the country. While industrial agriculture can take a toll on our environment, community gardening can help reduce our carbon footprint. Many fruits and vegetables grown in community gardens produce flowers that attract and provide a safe place for bees and other pollinators to frequent.
According to Tarrant Area Food Bank Community Garden Coordinator Becca Smith, “Many crops, like tomatoes, squash and berries, rely on bees, wasps, beetles, butterflies and other pollinators to create the fruit of their plant. Without pollinators, people and animals would not be able to enjoy the fruits and vegetables that are readily available to us today.” Becca also shared that, unlike larger growing operations, many community gardens take advantage of organic growing methods to reduce or completely get rid of the need for chemical pesticides.
Seeds of Knowledge
Community gardening is not only beneficial to the environment, but over time it can be a cost-effective way of producing food, promoting sustainability and connecting neighbors, families and friends. Just how cost effective is growing your own food? Randall Archie of Archie’s Gardenland, a community partner of Tarrant Area Food Bank, gave an example with zucchini. He shared that one packet of seeds may cost around $1.59 and that one packet can yield between six to 10 plants. From each plant, five to 10 zucchini could be yielded.
Community members can participate in workshops and other opportunities to learn new gardening techniques through the TAFB Community Garden program. The TAFB Learning Garden, located behind TAFB community partner Ridglea Christian Church at 3251 Sappington Place, is a center for families, individuals and groups to see firsthand how an urban garden can flourish on a budget. Growing your own food doesn’t have to be expensive. Many techniques practiced at the TAFB Learning Garden use materials that can be found in backyards or are low-cost and easy to acquire.
TAFB Community Garden workshops and tours are available to everyone and are free to attend. Visit the TAFB Eventbrite page to learn more about upcoming events. To learn more about TAFB Learning Garden workday volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page.