The Black community is plagued with disunity. The plethora of approaches to solve this dilemma has failed to transform relations amongst people of color. But the recent influx of community gardens has introduced a simple, effective solution to building solidarity.

Toiling around in the dirt brings together all generations. Parent and child are given quality time minus television, video games, radio, and school work. Elder residents eagerly bestow gardening wisdom to inquisitive adults and children. This bonding is critical for instilling ethics and values that become blurred from the barrage of negative images and ideals - songs and movies glorifying violence and aberrant behavior.

Hence, we introduce gardening as a constructive activity. Of course, all this time with the earth offers sufficient exercise. Consider more than 60% of adults fail to engage in regular physical activity; 25% of all adults are not active at all; and 50% of young adults age 12-21 are irregularly active, gardening provides an adequate alternative to pushups, sit-ups, and squats. In addition, it’s reported that exercise associated with nature leads to better mental health.

This evolution of mindset is amplified by the act of gardening. Studies show that moral development is impacted positively by direct contact with nature. Natural environments such as gardens provide an opportunity for group bonding. Furthermore, the shared physical and mental challenge of effectively harvesting vegetables and fruits increases altruism.

Besides inciting communal philosophy, communities gain access to nutritional foods. As it stands only 21.7 % of high school students report eating fruits and vegetables five or more times a week – imagine the percentage of families not drinking their daily V8, so to speak. Whether the cost of fresh produce or limited options hinder consumption, residents now find much needed nourishment in their gardens. Consequently, a reduction in grocery expenses is a reality with popular mass crops of salad greens, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes.

The Bedford Stuyvesant - in Brooklyn, New York - community garden has incorporated dietary tutorials, educating the community on the relationship between nutrition and psychology – healthy eating habits equates to lucid thinking, thus, flourishing positive mental and emotional development. Other gardens have opened their gates to all residents, regardless of membership, while a few operate as farmer’s markets in conjunction with their gardens. This awakening of the community not only to gardening but also collectives proves excellent induction to solidarity.

This potential evolution of negative beliefs illustrates the potency of community gardens. Through continuous tinkering, community gardens can serve as proxies for change in communities of color. The eventual inclusion of food cooperatives and credit unions into the master plan of Black community solidarity is plausible, but first things first: we have to get dirty to cleanse our psyches of the senselessness.