“Locally grown” serves as a selling point for produce at restaurants, grocery stores, and your neighbor's dinner parties. Growing food locally cuts back on energy costs of transportation, packaging, and storage. Decreasing those expenses goes hand-in-hand with a fresher, healthier and tastier product.
This is the perfect time to invest in the flavor of your future meals. The daylight lasts a bit longer now and the weather is cool in the mornings and mild during the day. The University of Arizona’s vegetable planting calendar for Maricopa County informs us that the beginning of February is a good time to plant many delicious vegetables including beets, carrots, collard greens, potatoes, radishes, and spinach.
For a greater variety of produce, the Valley Permaculture Alliance offers a seed library where individuals can have free seeds to plant in exchange for returning some after harvest. The seed library consists of over 800 varieties and their website has literature to help you grow them successfully.
If gardening seems inaccessible to you, there are a multitude of ways to get involved through Phoenix’s community gardens that offer differing styles of participation. PHX Renews gives applicants land for free on 6-month increments with the requirement that it is kept clean and organic. Their two sites are located in the midtown Phoenix area.
Rather start with a smaller commitment? Meet like-minded people, learn gardening techniques, and even return home with salad fixings through the Roosevelt Growhouse volunteer work days in downtown Phoenix on Sundays from 10am - 2pm.
Interested in social issues? Tiger Mountain Foundation offers volunteer opportunities every other Saturday from 8am - 12pm. Their mission is to empower communities including South Phoenix that have high rates of incarceration, poor health choices, and low-ranking education systems.
The above mentioned gardening opportunities are a small sampling of ways you can get your hands dirty (literally!) in Phoenix. Each of the given organizations prioritizes community-building along with the mental catharsis and edible rewards that come from gardening.
Whether as an individual or a community, becoming more attached to and responsible for one’s food breeds consciousness toward diet, and thus a healthier, happier community.
In next week’s blog post, we’ll delve into composting which will help supply necessary nutrients to your soil for healthier plants.
“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.”
― Joel Salatin
More Blog Posts