Our gardens provide us with more than just food and flowers. They give us an opportunity to experience and renew our connection with nature as we weed, harvest and walk among the plants.
They can provide us with exercise and a hobby that helps keep our minds and bodies sharp.
As a permaculture designer, I do my best to shape my life according to the three basic ethics of permaculture design.
1- care for the earth
2- care for people
3- Take responsibility for my own production and share the surplus.
It is through the third that I am able to achieve the other two. There are many ways to share the surplus and do good work in your community at the same time.
You can, when you go shopping for groceries, and there is a sale on canned or dry goods, (beans, pasta) buy a few extra and set them aside for the local food bank or meal program.
I suggest that if you are planning to do this you call the organization that you have in mind and ask them what they need. This way you can help them meet an urgent need and share at the same time. You could also consider making a financial donation or volunteering your time. Both cover the sharing the surplus concept.
If you are a gardener, you could donate some of your produce to the local food bank or meal program. Again, I suggest contacting them first and find out what they would like.
When I worked at a food bank, we got a lot of zucchini and rhubarb which was fine because it is fresh food that the clients may not buy. We always included a recipe or two when we gave the produce out so that those who did not know what to do with it would have the recipe to guide them.
If you want to take this sharing your garden surplus to another level you can grow a row for the local food bank. Simply set aside one of the rows in your garden and all that grows in that row is donated to the food bank.
You may want to check and see if there is an organized grow-a-row program in your community and contact them if there is.
If there is no organized program, you may want to share the idea with a few of your neighbours and ask them to share it with theirs. This way you can increase the sharing and the amount of food that will be donated.
If you are a member of a community garden, you may want to set aside a row in your plot for grow-a-row or suggest to the other gardeners that together you set aside a plot that is meant for the food bank. You could contact the food bank and let them know that you are doing this and ask them if there are foods that they would prefer.
Salad greens, the come-an-cut-again food, can provide people with a healthy and tasty donation that some people may not be able to buy for themselves.
There are a number of ways that your garden or your ability to garden can enable you to share the surplus. Try it and see what happens.