By Camila Karam
As a newcomer to south Florida I am amazed at the perpetual sunshine and warm temperatures. The beaches here are par excellence and outdoor activities are at your fingertips! Appreciating the outdoors, I have always had a garden of my own. Observing my immediate surroundings, I did not see gardens in my community. I did some investigating and was led to Beverly Williams.
A gregarious woman, a caring community activist and a Master Gardener sums up Williams. She promised to get me involved in a gardening project and she kept her word. I began by helping Beverly in her home garden and she eventually was able to get me my own plot. I was so happy! Beverly wants people of all ages to go outside and get their hands dirty so they can discover the wonderful benefits of gardening!
Beverly is a genuine leader who cares about people at a grassroots level. She walks her talk and is building community for food security. She is a bona fide “master gardener” through a certified program at the University of Florida (FAS Ex-tension Office). However, her knowledge of growing food is an innate gift she was born with.
Her gardening project teaches participants companion gardening, composting, seed management, attracting beneficial insects and so much more! She has turned abandoned and neglected lots onto a thriving local food system. Open plots are available to local residents for a nominal fee. It is expected for participants to get involved in the caretaking of their plot.
All the effort in nurturing your garden plot rewards you with delicious, nutritious, organic food! It is truly a miracle to witness what a seed, dirt and water can yield! What a payoff!!! Another benefit of Beverly’s project is that you meet the people who live in your community. Healthy food plus healthy relationships creates a healthy community…this is Beverly William’s goal.
In this highly technical society and our questionable relationship with the Earth, Beverly and I have discussed the importance of exposing young people to gardening. It is wise to allow young people to get involved in the production of food. Pondering this, it might inspire some youngsters to become entrepreneurs. People always prefer to buy and consume healthy, organic food.
This could possibly activate a creative and career platform in some young people. They would be a generation that would be more apt to eat healthier foods and know the value of gardening. It has been scientifically proven that eating healthy food has a profound effect on the human body and its development. Gardening also promotes respecting our natural resources. You naturally become attuned to weather, air quality and the purity of water.
It is wise in my opinion to educate young people to the value of caring for the environment. They will inherit the Earth and all its challenges. The current system has no regard for the Living Library and we are paying a big price. In this high tech society, people have forgotten how to cherish the simple things of life. Cell phones, iPods, and PC’s cannot produce life-sustaining elements. It is now being discovered that an “over-dose” of virtual realities is a contributor to “unclassified challenges” to the human form.
Action speaks louder than words. Many adults have be-come lazy and apathetic in creating powerful changes. We allow pessimism, politricks, and the media to kill our hopes and dreams. Many young people have an “untapped genius” in relation to the Earth that needs to be nurtured and inspired.
Gardening gets you in touch with the activity of Earth. Sadly, technology cares nothing about people, community and Mother Earth. So instead get into the” bio-instruction” of the Earth Mother. Beverly walks her talk with the Earth. Get involved with Beverly Williams and her “green thumb”!