The Graffiti Experiment continues in March – is it spring yet? This is a project intended to inspire community unity. Champions for the project have donated money to help pay the monthly fines my homeowners association charged me in order to help keep the painted fence experiment up for a longer period of time. In special thanks for supporting my peaceful protest against gang graffiti, I am writing a “Feature of the Month” blog post focused on the champion or the champion’s blog, cause, or company.
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While it is finally warming up a bit in the northern states, as you can see by the early March fence art photos, we spent the early part of March freezing our tail-ends off with snow cover and cold temps. This month the sponsor of the fence is Angela DiMaggio, the inventor of a cool new Mobilegro Portable Garden Cart (see photo right). When she approached me about sponsoring a month of the fence she asked me to promote front lawn edible growing and gardening instead of her product.
When I wrote my first book, I included a story about Susan and Larry’s front lawn vegetable garden in Warrenville, Illinois (below). They were growing the garden for Larry’s betterment; his health was very poor. It helped them live a better life because Larry’s health did not permit him to eat preservative- and chemical-filled foods. They were the original inspiration for why I built my front lawn veggie garden. Making a difference with a front lawn vegetable garden can literally save someone like Larry’s life.
Angela has been very concerned about the Florida city, Miami Shores, that made a couple that lives in the city and has grown all their own produce for the last 17 years to remove their beautiful vegetable garden. (See the story in the video below.) She brings up an interesting point. Ornamental edible and vegetable growing was considered “a hobby for the elderly” by most of the market 20 years ago. That has all changed! With the downfall of the financial system, controversy over the chemicals in our food system, and a major switch in U.S. health care, Americans like Angela see growing food as more than a hobby; they see it as a way to survive.
Gardening is now viewed as a source of organic food, emotional and physical health, exercise, and education for the younger families in our country. With dramatic changes happening in our world, we all need to consider that gardening has changed. I happen to agree with Angela’s feelings that cities and states that are trying to prevent front lawn, side yard, and back yard vegetable growing are shooting themselves in the foot because the families that live in their communities need to eat. Finding a way to feed yourself with unemployment and other medical issues on the rise can be a challenging thing. Why aren’t all cities promoting growing on their residents own properties to help their community?
What are your thoughts on this issue?
Thanks very much Angela DiMaggio for sponsoring the fence this month – I deeply appreciate your help. I also hope your passion for growing will help others see that making a difference is possible if everyone is allowed to try.