Planting a positive way of life

Published 9:11 pm Monday, July 23, 2012

One day Adam and his boys went for a walk and came upon the Garden of Eden. One of the boys said, “Dad, what is that place?” Adam responded, “Guys, that’s where your mother ate us out of house and home.” When they got back to home one of Eve’s sons said to her, “we see why dad no longer gardens.” She responded, “He must have told you that old story about our first garden, but did he tell you how he took the apple and added salt to it and now he has high blood pressure?”

Since humanity ate from the forbidden tree, which resulted in eviction, it changed our outlook of gardens. As a result, we constantly suffer from diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and other hideous diseases. The answer is simple; we must get back to the garden.

For older Alabamians, eating locally grown fruits and vegetables is nothing out of the ordinary. Growing a garden, stopping by a local farmers market or fruit and vegetable stand, looking for the freshest produce at the local supermarket is an everyday part of life. People grew up knowing when the first tomatoes came in, or when the last of the peaches were harvested. It was also an important way to make ends meet; local produce is often budget friendly.

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Unfortunately, the next generation is losing our important fresh food traditions, and it could cost them their health. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta found the obesity rates in Alabama high schools are among the highest in the nation. The study found 17 percent of Alabama students in grades 9 through 12 were obese last year, and another 15.8 percent were considered overweight. It is no mystery why one-third of all Alabama’s teenagers have weight problems. According to the study the culprit is a poor diet.

The study showed that teens of Alabama drink more sugary drinks than their counterparts in other states. Combine that with more processed foods and junk calories, and we have a growing problem — literally. Obesity is linked to higher rates of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer.

Recently, I launched a community garden project. My hope is to create community gardens throughout Dallas County. Such projects will involve partnerships with local communities and entities.

Creating community gardens will give this generation a greater appreciation of agriculture. Many of our students are simply unaware of the opportunities that agriculture offers. Who knows, maybe our efforts will encourage some of our students to enter into a lucrative career related to agriculture.

Imagine how Dallas County would look if we embraced this opportunity to obtain a healthy body and mind. Therefore, creating community gardens throughout our county is good for all of us.