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Feed your family, your community with healthy food you grow
By Urban Harvest, Inc.


The term ‘food security’ is being used more and more these days. We hear the phrase and immediately something comes to our minds, even if the question we ask ourselves is “what does food security mean?”

We can think of this on world, national, city and local community levels. On a world level, we think about availability of food to feed drought-parched countries where there is no food. Where will this food come from, who will grow it, who will pay for it, and how will it get transported from one country to another and then to the people within the country who are anxiously waiting?

On a national level, we know that 13 percent of people living in the U.S. are at or below poverty level, and that 1 in 4 children live in households that struggle to put food on the table. When we talk about food, we are usually not even talking about nutritious food, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which are the foods that build healthy bodies and minds.

On a local level, we get to make decisions of where we get our food. Most of us can go to a nearby grocery store. Some of us live in a ‘food desert’, which is defined as a district with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet but often served by plenty of fast food restaurants and convenience stores. This means that residents, who do not have personal transportation have to ride a bus, walk or find a ride to a grocery, or they have to shop at the convenience stores where there is little or no fresh nutritious food.

What can be done about food deserts in our communities? We have good options that are being used in many communities. We can grow vegetables, fruits and herbs in our yards. For those who have shady yards or who live in apartments, a community garden is often an answer. From my experience, once there is a community garden in a neighborhood, residents flock to the garden and are eager to grow their own food.

There are hundreds of community gardens spread throughout metro Houston, and if one does not exists in your area, starting one is a great community endeavor. With a few hours work a week, a great deal of nutritious vegetables and fruit can be produced, in a small space. The University of Houston school garden might be a good place to start to volunteer.

To learn how to grow your own food or how to start a community garden, Urban Harvest has helpful classes that can provide everything needed to be successful. For a community garden, Urban Harvest has regular ‘How to Start a Community Garden’ classes, which cover all aspects of organization, design, budgeting and growing. The next series begins October 10th.

For the back yard gardener, Urban Harvest teaches numerous classes. One class covers the A to Z on how to construct a garden, while another covers what vegetables to grow for the coming season and how to grow them. These classes are taught by gardeners experienced in raised bed gardening techniques, which is the method of choice all over metro Houston.

To learn more about some of the community gardens in the Houston area, check the directory of community gardens on the Urban Harvest website. You may be surprised at how easy it is to join with community gardeners in learning how to garden and in producing an abundant harvest of vegetables you like to eat.

This article is provided by Urban Harvest, Inc. To learn about gardening classes, farmers markets, school and community gardens and more go to www.urbanharvest.org or call 713-880-5540 for more information. This article was written by Ray Sher who is a gardening and permaculture instructor, vegetable and fruit garden consultant, and works his large intensive home vegetable, fruit and herb garden using organic methods. Contact him at RayInTheGarden@sbcglobal.net