Healthy food can be as close as your backyard or community | News

While access to healthy foods might be scarce or expensive, one fun solution is to grow the foods in your backyard, or participate in a community garden.

Kathleen Skott-Myhre is a psychology professor at the University of West Georgia. Through her career, she has worked with homeless youth, opening her eyes to how food deserts disproportionately impact minors.

Skott-Myhre has also worked with a food insecurity group on the campus of UWG, including helping to create a food pantry on campus and a community garden.

She also happens to be a gardener by hobby, and during a discussion on food deserts with the Times-Georgian, she shared her tips for success on growing healthy foods in the west Georgia soil.

As it turns out, not much is needed. Seeds, soil, water, and sunlight are necessary, and while there are other tools out there to help, they aren’t required.

The key is to not bite off too large a project and start growing a manageable amount of food before scaling up. Another tip is to grow things you’ll actually eat, not just something that is easy to grow.

Certain foods can be preserved, Skott-Myhre said, and when they’re harvested these can be canned or frozen so that they’re available in the winter.

Those who don’t have any land for a garden can also grow their garden in containers. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and summer squash are all viable in containers that are deep enough to hold them, Skott-Myhre said.

There are local efforts to help potential gardeners get started. The Carroll County Ag Center has testing for soil samples available that provide information on the soil’s actual nutrient status.

Keep Carroll Beautiful also has extensive online resources to help community members grow their gardens, including how to re-grow your vegetables, a webinar on growing vegetables in Georgia soil, and other home gardening information.

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