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Forget carrying signs and buying Priuses. Here’s the kind of environmental activism we can get behind: The Stroud Valleys Project in Gloucestershire, UK, was formed in 1988 “to help protect the industrial heritage of Stroud and its five valleys.” But besides gathering to create ponds and scrapes and planting new trees, the SVP recently began collecting and restoring manual gardening tools. They offer the cleaned-up second-hand tools for sale at their eco shop, and they also offer them at reduced cost (or free) to limited-income families interested in creating their own garden.

The garden is an oft-overlooked money-saver here in America, even though we often have far more land available for gardening — not that you need a ton of space. A single tomato plant can yield up to 30-40 tomatoes a season and only occupies a few square feet of land. A handful of plants can easily provide months’ worth of tomatoes. Other easy-to-grow crops include peppers, spices (which can be very expensive to buy), and squash.

There’s a trick, though: You’ve got to pick the right plants. Most of what you read about gardening comes from people who garden as a hobby, not as a grocery cart. Consequently, a lot of the advice you find is tailored more toward building the perfect garden than helping you save a buck.

That’s where organizations like SVP come in, offering up the key information you need to get started, saving you tons of time in research — and failed crops.

Still, if you don’t have a local organization to help, MSN’s Money Central recently offered recommendations of five plants that almost always grow produce cheaper than you can find at the grocery store. Their choices: fruit trees, lettuce, herbs, vine vegetables, and bell peppers. Check out the article (below) for more.

And if you’re an activist, take our advice: Put your time where your mouth is and help folks do what’s right for themselves AND the environment. Kudos, SVP!

[Thanks, abbydonkrafts, for the great CC-licensed photo!]

Tool Scheme Run In Stroud To Help Those On A Low Income [BBC]
[MSN] []


2 Responses to UK Org Helps Beginner Gardeners

  1. Shopmonger says:

    Great Idea….there is lots to learn about growing your own food…


  2. PutnamEco says:

    Some of Habitat for Humanities ReStore stores do the same type of things and not only with tools,
    We have our own gardening programs here in the US. The American Horticultural society has the Master Gardener program in most communities.
    http://www.ahs.org/master_gardeners/ Who I’ll vouch for in my community as I’ve worked with them on some environmetal education projects.
    and then there is the The Garden Club of America
    or if your more inclined to do something a little more radical there is always
    Guerilla Gardening (GIYF)

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