- Author: JoEllen P Myslik
This past year I was involved with a process in Vallejo called “Participatory Budgeting”. A mouthful which basically means, we citizens got to participate in how a small portion of the City’s budget is spent. Specifically, this small portion is a percentage of the larger Measure B tax that we voted on a few years ago – we voted to tax ourselves, 1¢ of every $1 spent. What a good idea that we get to have a say in how at least part of it is spent!
And one project that was proposed for some of this money to be spent on, voted on by citizens and approved by the City, was enhancing current community gardens and creating new ones. Does everyone know about this? As citizens of Vallejo you absolutely should! As citizens of Solano County it would be nice if you did, even though it doesn’t necessarily impact you directly.
But as Master Gardeners, we should ALL be aware of this great accomplishment – getting funds directed toward enhancing and creating more gardens in the community! However, the challenge now is, how does this get implemented? That will be a long and somewhat tedious process no doubt and every garden that will be enhanced or created will be a wonderful thing.
However, my original thought when I first heard about this project was putting these gardens in schools. Not only would it teach children very valuable lessons, but if the gardens could grow to have a significant yield, they could provide food for school lunches! There are a variety of benefits that could come from creating gardens in schools, but it always comes down to funding.
I didn’t write this with a grand plan in mind, nor do I expect some major change to occur. But if a few of us ponder this idea, perhaps we can think of creative ways to help this happen in our schools, no matter where those schools reside. Anyone even remotely interested in gardening could help make these ideas reality. After all, one of the best lessons that children can learn is that great-tasting food can come from something they planted with their own two hands. Not sure if this is a real quote, but it’s similar to the one about fish …. “If you give a man a vegetable you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to garden you feed him for a lifetime”