Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Gardening for the Greater Good

By Amber Pollei, July 10, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Amber Pollei

Kids in the GardenThere are plenty of things to love about having your own backyard or patio garden: fresh produce within an arm’s reach, the satisfaction of growing your own food, maybe even a few bragging rights on your block.

But one of the most wonderful things about growing food is sharing it — which doesn’t just mean doling out a perfectly ripe bumper crop of tomatoes. It means getting out there and gardening with your community. Being involved with local farmers and other gardeners is a wonderful way to share a love for fresh, healthy produce. And if you don’t have a garden spot to call your own, it’s an opportunity for you to dig in the dirt anyway. Here are three ideas to get you going.


Find a Community Garden Near You

Plenty of areas have community gardens, where you can either rent a plot of land for your own garden, or volunteer to help grow fruits and veggies for members of the community. Either way, community gardens are a fantastic way to get out and meet folks who appreciate homegrown food. Many community gardens donate their surplus to a nearby facility that can accept perishable food donations, such as a school or shelter kitchen – a double-good deed.

Find a community garden near you through the American Community Garden Association’s website.

Bonus: this guide from our friends at Dark Rye shares 10 steps to growing your own community garden.

Walking in the GardenEnjoy the Farmer’s Life

Do you have a favorite fruit and veggie grower in your hometown? Is your local market teeming with family-run farms? Many farmers are happy to accept your volunteer hours in the fields. Lend a hand to harvest, clean, sort and more — and possibly get a thank-you in the form of fresh produce. Take a few friends with you each month to learn more about your area’s agricultural community. You’ll meet fascinating people and pick up a few gardening tips of your own.

LocalHarvest.org is just one way to find family farms, community supported agriculture (CSA), and farmers’ markets in you area.

Swiss ChardDig School Gardens!

Vegetable gardens are sprouting up in schools all over the country. Many schools are partnering with local farmers, food centers, or the Whole Kids Foundation® to educate their students about food. Join in the fun and get involved! If you have school-age kids, find out if they have a garden. Volunteer to help in the one they already have, or see if you can get one started! Find a school in your neighborhood and ask how you can help. The Whole Kids Foundation has partnered with more than 1,500 schools to get gardens growing. Click here to see if there’s one near you!

Be sure to share your ideas, too. How do you use gardening to connect with your community?




Eileen says ...
I grow a small garden and most times have plenty to share. It's amazing how folks are finding for the first time a difference from store produce. Their taste buds came alive they didn't know food could be so good!
07/11/2013 11:16:07 AM CDT
Aimee says ...
When I was still at college, I volunteered at a local elementary school helping with the "garden club". This was a group of young students who worked in the garden after classes ended for the day. The kids were so enthusiastic, and spending time with them gave me energy to get through the rest of the day. I'll never forget the one boy who called me "teacher", even though I was just a college student. It was such a positive experience, both for me and for the kids!
07/24/2013 7:07:46 PM CDT
Seymore Applebaum says ...
Besides growing vegetables it's good to know how to do preserving. That's one of my goals for this year and next, learn and do preserving. I have lots of garlic to work with:)
08/04/2013 1:04:51 PM CDT
Ruth Gomez says ...
Interested in getting my children involved. Please is there a local community garden in my area? Miami, FL 33147. Thanks
09/24/2013 10:28:03 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@RUTH - I was unable to find anything online for a community garden in Miami. I would suggest reaching out to your local store to see if they are aware of any in your area!
09/24/2013 3:08:00 PM CDT