It's pretty much a no-brainer that eating local and organic food is best for one's physical health.
It's also a no-brainer that being involved with congenial friends in a tight-knit community is healthiest for one's emotional health.
Enter the "Community Garden."
Not all of us live out in the country with abundant land for a huge vegetable garden, nor are we all equipped with the knowledge of organic farming methods, or the time and inclination to spend loads of time alone with just nature for company.
The community garden enables anyone to get together, swap info, chat and visit a bit while planting or weeding, maybe swap one person's overabundant zucchini for another's superfluity of tomatoes, all while getting completely local and just-picked produce for the table.
The Valencia neighborhood of Los Lunas has been doing just that. Last March, the newly formed Valencia Community Gardens began tilling soil, planting seeds and educating each other about organic growing.
First on the agenda, of course, was finding a suitable location. That problem was quickly solved when local resident Mark Rosenblum volunteered an acre of vacant land on Vegas Road in Los Lunas. The local Walmart and Home Depot donated gift cards for tools and supplies, while local farmers donated seeds and plants. Master Gardeners, through the Valencia County Extension, have been helpful with advice and information.
The result is a colorful garden full of both community and individual plots, filled with potatoes and peas, corn and fruit trees, ornamentals and flowers. Officers of the organization stress that they have used no pesticides and that all the soil amendment has been doen with organic materials. Next goal is to share some of this local, organic produce with seniors in the community.
Live in the Los Lunas area and want to participate? Contact Rosemary Kaul at 505-231-8394. Or attend the weekly potluck meetings on Sunday evenings at the garden site, 55 Vegas Road, Los Lunas, NM.
Live elsewhere? Start your own community garden! It's the green and environmentally friendly thing to do!