In celebration of Plant a Seed Day, the nonprofit Big Green and the publication Modern Farmer are launching the Million Gardens Movement. Their goal is to get 1 million people to plant a seed — or a whole bunch of them!
Aiming to create a gateway for low-income families to receive affordable, healthy foods, this initiative couldn’t have come at a better time. With the pandemic limiting access to food and stable finances, the Million Gardens Movement is introducing people to a new kind of meal prep.
Kimbal Musk founded Big Green in 2011 to provide schools with their own gardens. As a result, they set kids up with fresh nutrition and began teaching them science through the process of growing fruits and veggies.
When COVID-19 struck, families were worried that school closures would halt their children’s access to the gardens. So the organization began to brainstorm the idea of an at-home gardening program. Inspired, Kimbal teamed up with Frank Giustra, the owner of Modern Farmer magazine, to make it happen.
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“When COVID hit, we saw an unprecedented spike in people looking at how to garden,” Frank told Fast Company. “That gave us the idea to come up with the Million Gardens Movement.”
The initiative will be donating fully-funded gardening kits to students and families all over the U.S. Kimbal and Frank hope that people everywhere will join them in donating to the cause so they can get 1 million new families growing their own food this year.
“One of our goals we had with our school gardens was to get our families gardening at home as well … but whenever we’d propose gardening, [we’d hear] they don’t have a backyard, they’re in an apartment, they don’t have the space for it, they don’t have the tools,” Kimbal explained.
Gardening can be an intimidating activity to start, and most people think it requires a lot of extra space. But Frank and Kimbal are here to reassure everyone that it doesn’t!
“COVID has really revealed inequalities in society,” Kimbal said. “That’s a very powerful reason why this needs to happen, getting folks to garden at home.”
Frank added, “What we’re doing here with this campaign is a way to heal America in more ways than one: heal their sanity, heal their souls, and heal their health.”
It’s true! Research shows that gardening has a significant positive impact on our mental health and emotional well-being.
To kick off their campaign, they’re starting with the Little Green Garden, a compact kit that’s perfect for fire escapes and windowsills. The kits will be delivered three times a year with produce suited to the season, and they will each come with tips, tricks, and access to online lessons and recipes to get the families going.
“The Little Green Garden is fantastic to solve friction and get people started,” Kimbal said. “But once they’ve started and the intimidation’s out of it … we will have, we hope, a nation and a community of folks that are really gardening.”
The campaign kicks off this month with Big Green doing a first donation of 5,000 Little Green Gardens. They are also partnering with Conscious Alliance and the Greater Chicago Food Depository to distribute over 20,000 pounds of organic food, along with their kits, to Chicago families.
The initiative offers everyone an opportunity to donate gardens to the families who need them most. Moreover, they’re asking all the new gardeners to share pictures of their progress online with #MillionGardens to spread the word.
In an interview with Food Tank, Kimbal put it this way: “Planting a seed is an act of hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
Thanks to them, tomorrow is looking brighter than ever! Check out their website to get involved and help them achieve 1 million new gardeners, and be sure to share this creative idea with your friends and family.
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