Grand County can unite around Community Gardens
May 29, 2008
To the Editor:
When I was in high school, I was having a miserable time. I was an intelligent enough student, but I hated my classes. I asked such questions as: “Why do I need to study Shakespeare and the Pythagorean Theorem? What is the relevance? When will I need to use this stuff?”
I petitioned the school board to graduate a year early, since I had all the credits needed and I wanted to leave home, a depressing place, and go on to college where I could choose my own classes (so I thought) and begin my new, independent life.
What is the relevance of this discussion now? I still hear the same arguments from today’s kids. “Why do I need to learn chemistry when I want to be a truck driver and earn more money than my teachers?”
Relevant education. What is relevant and to whom? To a student who will be going on to become a doctor, all the science, chemistry, research methods, biology, and communication classes apply very well. But what about the student who chooses to be a building contractor or a farmer? Where are the classes that give this student the practical skills to start after high school in these fields? And where are the mentors that can help these young people to explore different careers to see if they will fit?
The Grand Community Gardens Inc. is not just about starting community gardens, but it is about building greater connections between the community members, businesses, public and private institutions. It is about bringing relevant education to all its residents. And what could be more relevant than learning to grow your own food?
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The educational classes we propose to teach are “Back to Basics” in a new way. How can we utilize our environment in the very best way to promote our own survival?
How can we give BACK to our environment and not just rape its resources for profit and leave the Earth scarred and maimed?
We, residents of Grand County and the nonprofit organization Grand Community Gardens, see a need to become more self-sufficient in our own environment if we are to survive as a community. This will require sharing: sharing of our talents, sharing of our resources, sharing of our time, sharing of our ideas, sharing of our knowledge.
Carol and Joe Morales of Morales Farms Inc. have seen this need and have responded by offering resources of time, skill, knowledge and money. The rest of the community has responded favorably but needs to come to the plate with financial support for this project.
It is much, much bigger than building some raised beds. It is about spending the time to educate ourselves about what grows successfully at high altitudes. It is about educating ourselves about what grows natively that can be used for food. It is about managing our fish and wildlife in the best manner so that we can survive our long winters.
As the cost of fuel and food continues to rise, the stress on our economy, both personally and collectively, will rise with it. This one project, as simple as it may seem, has the seeds to create a future that can help all of us become more self-sufficient. It is in the relevant education of our citizens about:
– Healthy food ” growing, cooking, and preserving fresh, locally produced food
– Ways to best utilize our environment for mutual survival and enhancement
– Ways to cooperate to best utilize our resources
– Ways to grow more self-sufficient as a community
– Ways to gain the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health necessary to accomplish such a task.
This is the larger vision of the Grand Community Gardens Inc. This is relevant. This is worth doing. This project is more vital than many people are aware of yet. But the tidal wave of change is coming. Nothing will stop it, but we can help each other ride the crest. The old self-centered ways of thinking will be replaced by greater compassionate action IF WE HAVE THE COURAGE TO ACT.
President, Grand Community Gardens Inc.