Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dig In: Dirty and Dignified

by Sarah Snow, Toxic Free NC Outreach Coordinator Intern

On March 8, 2014, community leaders and teachers gathered in the garden of Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, NC.  There were there to attend the Dig in Community Garden & Urban Agriculture Summit , where I would be volunteering. This was my first time volunteering with Toxic Free NC, and I was excited to learn about the growth of the pesticide-free food movement in North Carolina!  Dig In would be the perfect place to meet people in our state who already cared about organic gardening.

Many of the people who attended Dig In were teachers who wanted to learn how to start organic community gardens at their schools.  While children played in the museum, I talked with teachers about organic food and why pesticide-free schools were important for their communities.  These teachers shared their concerns about the health of our state's children and their excitement about using what they learned at Dig In back in their own communities.

TFNC volunteers Jean and Margaret making seed bombs!
Our table also caught the attention of curious families who were visiting Marbles Kids Museum.  Kids were happy to get their hands dirty at our seed bomb station where they made balls of clay, soil, and seeds.  After they dried in the sun, the seed bombs could be "detonated" to set loose a sea of wild
flowers.  While kids were busy in the mud, parents collected our fact sheets about how to make their homes and gardens pesticide-free.

In addition to the interest in organic gardening, attendees at Dig In were also eager to sign Toxic Free NC's petition to the EPA!  After learning about the lack of pesticide protections for young farmworkers, people felt strongly about signing the petition.  Because children as young as ten can work in the fields with some crops in North Carolina, young farmworkers are at a very high risk for pesticide exposure.  No on understands better than parents and teachers how important it is to protect growing minds and bodies from dangerous chemicals!  Teachers and parents also want to make sure that the food their children eat is grown safely and responsibly.  These signatures will increase the growing tide of voices calling for protections for young farmworkers!

After a long day of tabling, I felt refreshed!  It felt good to volunteer with energetic people ready to "dig in" to organic gardening.  All the people I met that day strengthened my own belief that change begins with individuals.  When motivated communities come together, organizations like Toxic Free NC and their volunteers help change our state for the better!

Seed bombs that kids at Dig In made, waiting to dry and be thrown or planted!

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