Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gardening in da hood: Parenting a Community


My friend, jazz vocalist extraordinaire, Denise King posted this on my Facebook page since she knows I'm a gardener.  I love putting my hands in the soil and getting my hands very dirty, especially under my mother hates that since she grew up on a farm and it's not professional to have dirt under your fingernails...I guess I'm a rebel.

I wanted to share this with a larger audience because this is parenting at its best: parenting of a community. This man decided to plant food in the unused spaces in South Central LA. The main crux of his doing this was that he was seeing the food was the problem and the solution to the health crisis in his community; all at the same time. Get the wrong food out, and the right food in and many diseases are prevented. He gets volunteers to bring in plants and seeds and do all the work. Connections are made by children who work in the gardens in these urban areas that food comes from the ground and is tasty.

This parenting of a community is what many urban and frankly, suburban kids need. Parenting is about showing a child what the right way is through their own actions. Parents stand up for what they believe in and lead by example. Parenting is also not giving into what is popular or easy all the time. Food is the sustenance of our physical, mental and spiritual bodies. Now many times I want to put in my gullet some tiramisu or my favorite meat candy-like substance: bacon...mmmmm. But, I and my children know what a fresh tomato tastes like. A fresh cucumber.  Even the dreaded zucchini(which can be made into hash and deliciously moist bread).

I'm not comparing adults to kids, but, in some ways I am. Holding up a big gulp as a sign of liberty(y'all know who I'm talkin' 'bout, and if you don't, betta ask somebody) is as stupid as a kid holding up a piece of crack or putting a gun to their heads as a sign of their adulthood. If you saw that as a parent, you slap your child sil-- ... wait, wait, wait ... you would sternly speak to your child and tell them how stupid that was because it would ruin their health and/or kill them. Our diets are killing us slowly, and sometimes the slowness painful. How you eat determines how you live. I want my children to live well. This gentleman wants his entire community to live well. That's what good parents do....

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