This morning in his inauguration address President Obama (!) called on all Americans to give back to our country. He said:
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
I think that as gardeners we are especially well suited to heed this call. In your very own yard, you can increase access to nutritious, organic food by growing extra vegetables and sharing them with your local food bank. You can give more people the opportunity to learn how to grow their own food by volunteering to start and maintain vegetable gardens at schools, churches, and community centers. In late summer, you can organize a group of friends to harvest and donate unused fruit from local trees to food banks. You can help protect the health of our planet—and our communities—by gardening organically and teaching your neighbors to do the same.
This year I’m volunteering to introduce middle school students to the concept of organic gardening, helping design and build a chicken coop and rabbit hutch at Seattle’s new Children’s PlayGarden, and lending a hand at my favorite food bank garden.
There is so much each of us can do, and the good news that this work is fun. It is gratifying. And it really can help make positive and lasting change.