土のススメ/GO garden!




Hi, it's Megumi. Summer’s here and it’s the perfect season to be outside. Last weekend, I joined a community garden activity in my hometown, Izunokuni city, Shizuoka.


This is a community garden for everyone. We grow all kinds of vegetables year round with Mr. Watanabe, a local farmer, and share the harvest. Plus, working with kids is so much fun. Here are a few of my young garden friends.


Older kids (school age) take care of the younger kids (the youngest is one year old!). These roles develop naturally in this little society. Everybody loves vegetables. At first glance, it’s a little odd that children don't eat chips and cookies at the garden, but tomatoes and cucumbers that they grew!



Around the world, community gardening is recognized as an effective tool for nutrition education. Last month at a nutrition conference in Texas, I found an interesting project called the Junior Master Gardener or JMG. I got a chance to talk with the staff. JMG is an educational program for school age children to learn about nature, environmental issues and health/nutrition in gardens by growing vegetables. The curriculum is well organized and the materials provide good lessons for people of all ages.



My Asian face reminded them of their collaborative project in South Korea. Learning that I work at Miraikan, a national science museum in Japan, they got extremely excited and aid “We work with Gwacheon National Science Museum!" Here are the Kimchi gardens in South Korea. Look at the cheerful smiles! What a fresh approach for a science museum program!


Organic foods’ market share is growing quickly, reflecting how many more people are paying much more attention to what they eat than ever before. I think that’s a positive movement, but I worry that some become too concerned about what to, and what not, to eat.



I think that just saying “thank you” at every meal strengthens our relationship to foods. One reason why vegetables from your own garden taste better is that you try to savor each bite as much as possible. Plus, many people find that veggies grown naturally (without pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizer) have the best taste. Some challenges and difficulties help us to become stronger, and this is true for plants as it is for people. The ways that plants protect themselves from enemies, and adapt to environments with pesticides and herbicides affects how they taste.



Minds that are too self-centered on daily human concerns easily produce unnecessary anxieties. But if we look at things in a more holistic and environmentally-centered way, we can easily find balance. As a member of our planet Earth, we, as an Earth life form, must help and support all other life forms.



The harvest lunch after the hard work was incredible. We ate simple boiled potatoes and baked onions that were packed full of happiness. This made everyone smile. We were fully charged!


♥ Special thanks to Ms. Eun Sook Nuh, Ms. Judy Warren, Dr. Sharon Hoerr and all my garden friends for your help and support to write and edit the blog.