The success of the two-day Growing Local conference in Lowndes County is a reflection of the renaissance farming is enjoying across the country. Technology’s increasing dominance in modern life has resulted in a yearning for simpler times while the economic downturn has created a need for many to grow their own fruits and vegetables as a necessity.
There’s something about working with your hands, growing plants and trees out of the soil that speaks to us on a primitive level. It’s personally satisfying, appealing in its simplicity and nourishing to our bodies.
The added health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables along with the benefits of the physical activity required to cultivate them are more than enough incentive for the renaissance in backyard gardens and multi-acre small farms.
In 2012, members of the Georgia General Assembly tried again to pass a Right to Grow bill that would allow gardens to flourish even in more urban areas. The bill would have kept local governments from passing restrictions on property use to discourage the practice. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass out of the House, and was strenuously opposed by the Georgia Municipal Association on behalf of the cities of Georgia.
Perhaps this will be the year that the legislature recognizes the importance of encouraging property use for growing local, as the need for home gardens and small farms continues to increase. Given the tremendous local interest, perhaps Valdosta’s delegation will take notice and support such a measure this session.