By Eileen McCafferty
Between snow storms, I attended a Gardening Party where we were encouraged to grow our own food and given the opportunity to plant something. There were tiny clay pots, soil, and seeds provided for us.
When the event, hosted by the Student Government Association, started in the Pavilion on the last day of February, the room began to fill up with people. On each table were about three packets of different seeds–every table seemed to have a different variety. From the Renee’s Garden brand of seeds, I chose “Zinger Hibiscus”, an herbal tea. I began by filling my pot, filling it close to the rim with soil. I then took the tip of my pinky and poked three half inch holes into the surface and placed one seed in each hole. I then covered the seeds and provided the pot with a small amount of water to kick start the growing process.
This event was a good experience for anyone who wants to grow some or all of their own food. It was even good for people who were just curious about how to pot a plant! While each seed may require a different approach or different care, it was a great place for beginners to start. I, myself, am interested in beginning a garden this summer in my yard, which is something my father and I did together when I was a little girl. My dad loved to grow his own tomatoes, and before he passed away, he asked me to restart the garden. I think this was a timely event that helped me kick start that request.
I feel in our current environmental climate, it is important that we learn to grow our own because of several reasons:
1. You know exactly where it came from and whether chemicals were utilized
2. It would be more satisfying to eat your own produce
3. It saves you money at the grocery store
4. You spend more time outside, which is great for your health
I intend to begin this year with flowers, and also intend to have my Hibiscus plant thriving by summer time. I began to compost last year and there will be a bee hive coming to my yard via a professional beekeeper sometime in April. Doing these things is going to help me feel more connected with nature and allow me to practice sustainability.
Also, attending this event allowed me to meet some other people who are interested in gardening as well. The idea of being a gardener and growing your own food might sound like tough labor, especially on one’s knees, but it’s a great way to reconnect with nature and to feel a sense of pride. Plus home grown tomatoes are incredibly delicious.
Eileen McCafferty is a Junior at Ramapo College, studying Environmental Studies. Eileen will be the President of 1STEP (Students for Environmental Progress) Club for the 2018-19 academic year.