I hope folks will come to my vegetable garden at 56 Gordonhurst Ave., Montclair, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, to see how I raise most of my family’s vegetables year-round with no poisons or power machinery.
You will see the cold frames from which I harvest two meals a week of Chinese cabbage all winter long, even this winter. It tastes great in a stir-fry with home-grown garlic harvested in June and chopped peppers frozen throughout the harvesting season.
I enjoy gardening and really enjoy the taste of the food we eat year-round. My health has improved greatly since I began gardening, and my husband’s is fine, too. Beyond that, there are at least two other reasons to encourage local gardening.
When I was young, about 45 percent of Americans were farmers. Now only 4 percent are. The decrease is due to the introduction of heavy machinery and chemicals into farming. Neither is good for the health of consumers, but they increase the profits of mega-food companies. You can eat locally and organically if you join a community-supported agriculture to help support a local farmer in return for regular deliveries of food during the year. If you join my gardening/environmental email list at firstname.lastname@example.org, you will get a list of local CSAs at the appropriate time in early spring.
Second, our country does a lot of environmental damage shipping food. Eat locally. Come on Feb. 3 to learn about how this can be done.
Environmental summit in Montclair
On Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Montclair Public Library, more than 36 community groups, organizations and environmental activists will attend the third annual Acting Locally for a More Sustainable World Conference. Cyndi Steiner, a Montclair resident and executive director of New Jersey Bike and Walk, will be the keynote speaker. Gray Russell, sustainability officer of Montclair, will speak about sustainable communities. Samantha Richardson, director of horticulture at Greater Newark Conservancy, will give a presentation on the positive impact of urban farming in low-income communities, and Jerry Vorbach, environmental manager, will speak about climate change’s local impact.
The conference is sponsored by the Northeast Earth Coalition and Partners for Health Foundation. The conference provides a chance to meet community leaders from Northern and Central New Jersey to network on environmental issues, including local food, sustainable communities, alternative transportation, renewable energy, clean air and water, and climate change activism. This conference is one of the largest gatherings of environmental and community activists in New Jersey. Participants will have the opportunity to watch the premiere of a short film, “Spotlight on Sustainability,” produced locally by Julia Sickler and Nelson DePasquale.
One goal of the event is to meet one another to collaborate more effectively on the “Great Work” of our time—“healing the earth so all life can thrive.” No matter which environmental or sustainability door one first comes through, we find we share the same values and vision about environmental protection, clean water and air, renewable energy and safe food. We all want to make our communities more sustainable and eco-friendly. All are welcome at this exciting chance to celebrate our local efforts to improve the quality of life of our communities.