Houston, Texas' high poverty rates alone are a good reason to teach kids lessons about sustainability. Did you know that 1 in 5 Houston kids are at or below poverty level? Using community gardens to teach children about long-term food sources could help reduce those numbers and children will hone life skills, including knowledge on being healthy and taking care of the environment.
Community Garden vs. Personal Garden
Who says kids need to choose between a community garden or personal garden? There are benefits to both. Community gardens help bring neighborhoods and communities together as a team. This can help foster skills needed in the workplace, as well as be a building block for neighborhood growth. Kids can indeed grow their own personal gardens and should. However, combining both could be the optimal choice.
Need for Sustainability Lessons in Youth
Many of our youth these days know more about electronic gadgets, such as computers and video games, than they do about survival. Sustainability lessons provide skills they can use in the workforce, as well as life in general. By starting kids on the path of sustainability, we are paving the path for a better future. If a major catastrophe were to happen, how would your kids handle it? Do you have the survival and sustainability skills it would take?
Community Growth Through Shared Gardening
Shared gardening provides food for communities, which means that it can help fight hunger in kids. According to a 2010 report from chron.com, hunger rates in Houston area children have increased over 85 percent when compared to just 4 years ago. This also provides opportunity for income. Community gardeners, including kids, can sell their harvests at local farmer's markets and to grocers. These gardens also can be a great source of food supply for local food banks. When dealing with unemployment and hunger issues, community gardens are a simple solution to growth and sustainability. Studies also show that community gardens help reduce crime rate.
Can My Houston Community Afford This?
Grants are often readily available for Houston and other communities who choose to organize and maintain gardens for this purpose. Money should not be a reason for putting off getting a garden started in your neighborhood. In fact, by not participating, your community is likely losing out on potential funds. Urban and community gardens also are preferred as many corporate farms are not sustainable. This is due to soil erosion and the tight packing and caging of animals.
Who Teaches the Kids to Garden?
Volunteers can be called in to help teach the kids about gardening. Also, the neighborhood residents should look to each other for support. This is yet one more benefit. Gardening in a shared space can help bring neighborhoods together, creating closeness in a community. Anyone who knows how to garden can chip in their knowledge to help everyone pull it all together.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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