So how did this group of exceptional people come together? As highlighted in the press release, “Collectively these influencers are lending their name… to inspire millions of people to grow their own food with the shared belief that gardening has a transformational power to fight hunger, support climate action, and increase resilience.” That’s a lofty goal, and it’s meant to address a huge issue. This launch has highlighted a sad and challenging statistic. Shockingly, 1 in 4 families in the U.S. in 2020 have faced issues with not knowing where their next healthy meal is coming from (Kaiser Family Foundation). 

This progressive food movement not only uses technology as a tool, it’s positioned to create disruption, similar to other incumbent sectors in the past. In a recent Rolling Stone profile, when asked how the food industry compares to technology, Musk had this to say about the pace of innovation,  “So old school! Yeah, it’s fun. I do get frustrated that it doesn’t move fast enough. Then I’m reminded of how big this is and I’ve got my whole life to work on it. So I’m learning to embrace going a little slower. If you are in the software world, it’s more “move fast and break things,” and I think with food, it’s something in between.”That’s a big perspective. But this movement also scores on a personal level.  For many of us soldiering through a pandemic, gardening has provided an uplifting outlet that is, at times,  surprisingly sexy. We have Martha Stewart, a pioneering voice for growing your own food, highlighting new studies that show gardening has the power to improve health as you age. If her thirst trap viral instagram post is any indication, it’s working for her! And Bravo recently profiled a bare-all Landscapers charity calendar to further stimulate the home-gardening conversation. The celebrity gardeners had this to say,  “So many people have been reaching out to us to enhance their gardens because it’s really the only space they have right now…And us making their gardens beautiful gives them joy.” A recent article in Fast Company confirms these observations.  Based on a significant Princeton research study, the article enthuses,

“Gardeners are happier. They report high levels of happiness, among the top third of all activities. Gardeners also report high levels of meaningfulness, especially for vegetable gardening!… Female and low-income gardeners, who often have a hard lot in life, reported really high emotional well-being.”

When we are willing to plant a seed and help it grow, the benefits domino. It can help when finances and times are hard by cutting the grocery bill. It relieves boredom and gives us something to look forward to. And we can grow food for others and share a tomato with a friend. As Giustra alludes, a tomato is never just a tomato, it can also reflect our collective aspirations. Being grounded in terra firma has benefits that both feel good and taste good, so bravo to the Million Gardens Movement for providing hope. By inspiring us to feel more connected to nature, we can help those with lower incomes and food insecurity. The great news is that transformational innovation is possible when technology is used as a simple solution to lever our collective enthusiasm to support groundbreaking social change. We dig it!

The Founders…

Transformational ideas need caring, passionate and dedicated people to breath life into them. The founders for this movement have each significantly contributed to this sector in their other pursuits. Find out the background story and connect the dots on the evolution of the Million Gardens Movement.

About Big Green

– founder Elon Musk

Big Green is a national nonprofit dedicated to creating healthy places where kids can learn and grow. Through outdoor learning environments, gardens, and programming, Big Green forges connections between education and health and offers experiences that engage the whole child. Founded in 2011 by Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson to address diet-related health disparities, Big Green has since grown to work in nearly 650 schools in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, and supports students, teachers, and families through school-based, online, and at-home programming. For more information, please visit biggreen.org or follow them on Twitter and Instagram @BigGreen.

About Modern Farmer

– founder Frank Giustra

Modern Farmer is an online magazine dedicated to food, how we grow it, how we eat, and how it affects our world, our community, and our lives. It is read by a large community of farmers, wannabe farmers, chefs, and passionate home cooks who are influencing the way we eat right now. Blending hands-in-dirt service, soulful inspiration, and whip-smart reporting, Modern Farmer understands that a tomato is never just a tomato – it’s also a political, and deeply personal, statement about who we want to be and the world we hope to live in. For more information visit modernfarmer.com