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    The new Victory Garden: amazingly green front and backyards feed the body and the soul

    The days when a family had to have a grass lawn in front of their house is long gone. The bylaws don’t demand that flat monotone fixture anymore. You can throw away all the weed killers and transform a lawn into a fabulous and endlessly fascinating garden. We were very fortunate to have the famous gardening expert, Marjorie Harris, in Collingwood in April to show her slides and create a new sense of excitement for flower, tree and shrub gardens. Her book, ”How to Make a Garden”, is filled with beautiful pictures and very helpful ideas. A walk through local gardens will certainly inspire a person to replace a lawn as well.

    During World War II more than twenty million gardens appeared throughout North America. The gardens helped people cope with food shortages and also created a uniting spirit among people.  Today, many scientists and fortunately more and more economists (Jeffery Sachs and Nicolas Stern are the most famous)  have called for a fresh economic outlook to mitigate climate change and replace the dangerous ‘business as usual’ attitude our entrenched narcissistic   consumer society has so much trouble in shaking off. Start with your garden and cut down on your carbon emissions while you have a great time.

    Most front and backyards have the space to plant a flower and vegetable garden which can include a few native fruit trees. It is also a chance to encourage children to take an interest in the food we eat. Now is the perfect time to create an organic garden that reflects your tastes, but it is always exciting to plant vegetables that you have never seen grow.  A fantastic book by Bruce County writers, Patrick Lima and John Scanlan, allow all of us to have green thumbs. Their book, “The Organic Home Garden” is fun to read and inspires a person to pick up that shovel and get close to the earth. Children will appreciate the family coming together to “live off the land”, no matter how small the plot is. Enjoying your own tomatoes or cucumbers is very satisfying and brings us a little closer to nature. All of a sudden “dirt’ becomes “soil” or “earth” and a young person will grow up closer to nature and protect it.  Instead of having to rely on oil or food based fertilizers children can learn how to compost right in your backyard. What adults need to do for youth is encourage their respect for what the planet does for us.

    Think about it: an organic garden produces a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions that lawns demand for weed killers and fertilizers.  “Green” lawns require huge amounts of water too.

    Community allotment vegetable gardens are not rare in Ontario. The ones in Toronto have been popular for at least 30 years.  There is no reason why Georgian Triangle municipalities can’t do the same for its citizens who live in apartment buildings, so speak to your council.

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