Give Away Free Plants!

So I was brainstorming ways to do some food security outreach this summer, other than the work I do with the excellent Food Empowerment Project, when it hits me: I could do the simplest thing, and just give away food plants. Novice and veteran gardeners alike are always poised to take advantage of freebies.

With this in mind, I ordered organic, GMO-free seeds from Seeds from Italy today. I chose cucumbers, one of the easiest plants to grow in the food garden. The variety I bought is organic Marketmore, a prolific strain that everyone who likes cucumbers will enjoy. I also bought planting trays with removable pots, and seed starting mix.

The plan is to set up a table near the curb at the front of our house in early June, where we’ll offer our cucumber seedlings and some literature on food security, both for free.

What an easy, no-sweat way to spread the message of food security and personal sustainability to whomever wanders by our little homestead. If just a couple of dozen people each pick up a pot of cucumber seedlings, even if they don’t grab some literature, they’ll go home, plant their seedlings, and perhaps for the first time, experience the gratification, liberation, and happiness of producing some of their own fresh food.

The big goal, of course, is for all people, at all times, to have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. Such a goal is accomplished through baby steps. Not only is giving away food plants a way to get people turned on to food gardening, but as sure as you’re born, the ones who embrace the message will spread it even further. Everyone wins.

About seven years ago, I did this same thing with a crop of raspberry seedlings that had popped up everywhere around the mature raspberry plants at the home where I lived. We dug up the seedlings, which were healthy and fat and about 2 feet tall each, potted them in pots we recycled from the garden center, and placed them all on a table outside the house. I had no idea what to expect. Before half the day was over, all the raspberry plants were gone. So, we did it again the next day.

Here’s an idea: if you’re growing from seed this year, take the opportunity to plant some extra and give them away – to colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, and strangers. Everyone loves free stuff. Gardeners of all abilities jump at the chance to grab free plants. You could do food plants, like us, or flowers. Both will inspire others to dig deeper into the practice of grow-your-own. The message spreads, and the karma, for everyone, is great.

We have a new family member – a male Beta. He’s a beautiful crimson red. He’s swimming around peacefully in a big bowl of distilled water on the kitchen countertop. We named him Bodhi, the Pali word for awakening. I’m going to take photos of him this weekend, and will post them here. I want to give the little dude time to settle in before I get up in his face with a camera.

It’s 65 degrees outside today, February 24. This streak of spring weather is going to end in a couple of days, but it’s an amazing break from winter, and it’s getting my juices flowing.

Live in peace.

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