The Benefits of Growing Your Own Produce
The process of becoming a beginner gardener can seem intimidating when a family doesn’t have firsthand experience with growing their own produce.
“The Glassboro Grows workshops are designed for beginning gardeners, or people who are interested in learning the basics of gardening,” said Sonya Harris, founder and chief executive officer of the Bullock Garden Project, Inc. “When I started gardening, I was really nervous about the process and worried about what if I did something wrong. In these workshops, I break the topic of gardening down to its simplest form. Once participants are successful, they want to continue growing. That is the whole goal and purpose.”
Harris feels accomplished and proud of the impact that the Bullock Garden Project, Inc., has had on a number of lives. The purpose for her nonprofit organization is to spread awareness of the benefits that come with planting your own food. The Bullock Garden Project, Inc., is now a member of the Glassboro Health Equity Coalition and partnering with Rowan University’s Glassboro Food and Health Equity Project to offer the Glassboro Grows gardening workshops to households in the community.
“Teaching people how to grow their own food helps them take control of their family’s health by providing knowledge to ensure nutritious food remains available and affordable,” Harris said. “Families can stretch their budgets or benefits farther and eat healthier by growing their own produce.”
Everyone who participates in the Glassboro Grows course receives a growing kit that contains a bag of soil, a bag of peas and lettuce for planting. Each household can decide whether to start growing peas or lettuce first. Participating households also receive training from Harris and ongoing support. Resources such as American Sign Language interpreters and Spanish-speaking interpreters are available for attendees who need them. In addition, the Bullock Garden Project, Inc. web site hosts a “Get Up & Grow” networking group for the people who are taking the course. Through this group, workshop participants can talk with each other, learn from each other, ask questions to each other and share pictures of their produce.
“Anyone can become a gardener,” she said. “There are more people who want to sign up and learn how to grow their own food. We’re seeing a good turnout.”
The Glassboro Health Equity Coalition is working to improve community health by building residents’ confidence in growing and preparing healthier foods. To learn more about current gardening workshops, visit the Bullock Garden Project, Inc., web site.