Sometimes a garden is more than a garden. Sometimes a garden is comfort, safety, job training, real good food for the hungry and a supportive community.
Growing a Garden City by Jeremy Smith (Skyhorse Publishing $24.95) has an all inclusive subtitle – How Farmers, First Graders, Counselors, Troubled Teens, Foodies, A Homeless Shelter Chef, Single Mothers and More are Transforming Themselves and their Neighborhoods Through the Intersection of Local Agriculture and Community and How You Can, Too. Whew! I’m out of breath.
This book also made me breathless with its description of a city learning to feed itself while it involved various groups of people in a new community. Missoula, Montana has a short growing season, 100 frost free days, and the same kinds of needs any city does, hunger, homelessness, students who don’t know where their food comes from, and troubled students who don’t know where they are going. The city also has people with vision, energy and perseverance.
Missoula now has seven neighborhood farms and community gardens that give a whole new meaning to the term Community Supported Agriculture. It didn’t happen overnight. The tale of the growth of this program over 15 years is told through the voices of those who participated from Josh Slotnick, Director of the PEAS (Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society) Farm, students at the PEAS Farm, to single mother Kim Markuson, Greg Price, chef at a homeless shelter, and many others.
This is such an inspiring story that shows what a community with land and energy can build. We are fortunate in our region to have new young farmers on small farms, part of a national movement, that is giving all of us healthy food – and healthy community.