Five Reasons Why Black People Should Garden

by Staff Writer

The benefits of gardening are many, particularly for a people who have nurtured and tended the earth longer than any. Our ancient hands have massaged the soils of many lands from Kemet (ancient Egypt) to the Mississippi Delta. The soil has sustained us, chained us, and, ultimately, reclaimed us.

Today, there are numerous reasons you should reclaim this relationship with the soil. Here are our top five:

Spring Breeze and Beautiful Me — photo: Sherry Upchurch

  • So you can optimize your health. Make no mistake, gardening is exercise. Anyone who has tended a garden, knows this. The many health benefits of gardening and its associated movement include weight loss, reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and an elevated mood. Gardens are well known to produce feelings of tranquility, serenity, and happiness. Gardening also ensures access to nature and the sun, a rich source of immunity-building vitamins, most notably, Vitamin D.
  • So you can grow your own healthy food. Growing your own vegetables is an empowering step toward producing your own food supply. During unpredictable times, like the present, access to a reliable and sustainable food source is critical. Gardening empowers you to feed your own family. Further, given the contemporary, commercial overuse of dangerous pesticides on the foods we purchase, you can largely control what substances engage your fruits, vegetables, and the soil they spring from.
  • So you can increase your property value. A beautiful, well-tended garden can increase the overall value and appeal of your home. An increased property value not only enables faster home sales, but also has significant implications for other home value assessments.

My Black Lives Matter piece is getting rave reviews in my yard. I love this stuff! — Cynthia Fraction

Ancestors, Big Mama Lillies, Autumn Breeze, Lavender dreams – photo: Marva Campbell-Pruitt

  • So you can support your environment. Plants clean and detoxify the air, filling it with oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide and other air pollutants. They reduce erosion and hold the soil in place while further preventing harmful pollutants from invading nearby creeks, rivers, and streams.
  • So you can adorn it with Garden Art for the Soul. Grow your garden while surrounding yourself with powerful images of African American culture including Harriet Tubman, Muhammad Ali, or the proud, everyday-folk who embody our ongoing quest for equity, power, and representation. Think Sunday after church. Think Southern roots. Think Black Lives Matter. Think how your beautiful new garden will blossom into the focal point of your block while celebrating earth’s offerings and the culture who tended it longest.

Start your garden today. Grow it, nurture it, adorn it; for it truly reflects the collective health and autonomy of a people, as well as the health of your home.