Ron Finley delivers an inspiring message concerning “food deserts”, explaining how to provide access to fruits and vegetables in poverty-stricken areas. In addition, “We need to make gardening sexy” claims Finley, as the innovative man describes why the trendy appeal of growing your own food fuels the health conscious revolution, ultimately eliminating food deserts. “We gotta flip the script on what a gangsta is — if you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangsta.” This TED Talk calls on viewers to cultivate youth’s interest in gardening (particularly those residing in fixed income households) by changing the definition of what a gangsta is. The speaker also relies on listeners to get gangsta with their shovels; who can resist such encouragement?

Everything clicked when Finley bluntly stated,”If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes. But when none of this is presented to them, if they’re not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever you put in front of them.” In other words, educate your children about nutrition! Finley’s “aha statement” resonated within, as I imagined sharing the same beliefs with my children once I have a few. Teaching children to identify fruits and vegatables increases the likihood they will appreciate produce. Enjoy this urban perspective on gardening by watching the short video below. Finley captures the audience with enthusiasm for produce and informs listeners on how to spread the wealth and phase out food deserts.

Finley’s discussion influenced me to share fresh foods; despite growing my own assortment of produce this year, surely distributing items from the CSA baskets suffices, as well. Maybe one day a small food forest will flourish in the front yard once we move. Until then, I’m eagerly waiting for my veggies to develop. Check out my Earth Box Photos along with a brief segment of gardening advice.

Earth Box! Planted 2 different types of beans (5 of each), peas (5), 5 carrots, 3 onions and a single garlic bulb
Patiently waiting for seeds to germinate
Returning from Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival to discover the newly sprouted produce filled my heart with such joy!
One week later…..beans and peas doing well! Carrots and onions also making their introductions….
Another week later….the garlic bulb begins to peek through the soil.
Purchased tomato plants, so needless to say I did not grow them from seed.
2 weeks later…..should have added cones to compliment the stakes by this point.
The plants are traumatized but managed to squeeze them into cones last minute. Hoping they will bounce back soon!

Gardening Lessons Learned So Far:

1. Add stakes before plants take off

Don’t wait till the last minute to support your plants! Recognize vulnerable, weak spots and place stakes accordingly. Procrastinating caused the tomatoes to wilt yesterday once I tried to install the cones, after they burst into bloom. A few small limbs snapped. The plants barely fit within the perimeters. (Sad face.) Stay ahead of your garden. Research tactics to secure plants and plan for the worst, while visualizing successful outcomes.

2. Be gentle with your plants

Despite encouraging sentiments, (i.e. don’t doubt your plant’s resilency), treating crops delicately matters. Your job is to protect, nourish and care for your garden. When trimming away dead ends and searching for growth, refrain from frequently touching the plants. Accidentally injuring the tomato plants yesterday caused them stress and broke my heart, as I regretted not acting more carefully.

3. Keep high powered water hose away from dainty sprouts

Consider the water pressure when soaking plants. Earth Boxes come equipped with a special tube to fill with water, but if you add water to the stalks leading directly to the roots, take into account the plant’s strength. The carrots wilted when I accidentally set the pressure too high, but luckily they perked up the following day.