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Food for Thought: Sustainable Gardening

By Wyatt Eberle and Mimi Herrick

Here in Colorado, the long winter that we all know and love—well, maybe not all of us—is coming to an end. Spring represents many things for the people of the Front Range: being able to walk in the park without a sweater and gloves, finally getting back on their favorite hiking trails, and most of all, being able to drive to the grocery store without sliding on ice in a wintertime traffic frenzy. For Trupti Suthar, spring means she can return to doing what she loves most—gardening!

“I’ve always loved gardening, no matter what home I lived in,” Trupti said. “I always ended up making some kind of improvement, putting in a small vegetable garden, but also flowers and shrubs, always wanting to improve the space I live in.” 

Trupti has a deep passion for gardening that she claims she caught from her mother, who is also an avid gardener. Both their experience in horticulture and sustainable food practices reach further than they can remember. her yard in Sunnyside is filled with carefully designed flower and vegetable beds that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye and delicious to the taste. 

Video by Mimi Herrick

While gardening might have started as a hobby for Trupti, what fuels her passion is her necessity to be sustainable and contribute towards her community rather than take and consume. 

When asked to explain what sustainability looks like in her life, Trupti almost burst out of her chair.

“I am all about sustainability! In every part of my life,” she said. “Down to not buying things I don’t need, recycling everything, reusing everything. I can’t throw anything away! And also just finding those things in the community rather than going out and buying them.”

One day when looking at her front lawn, she realized what a poor use of resources it really was. The lawn was practically a bottomless pit of water waste. It had to go. But instead of having a landscaper rip it up and haul it away on a trailer, Trupti used cardboard from neighbors’ Amazon boxes to smother the grass and then took it out herself and disposed of it in an environmentally friendly way. Instead of buying mulch, she found leftovers from community projects that she could repurpose in her own yard.

Now, instead of a front lawn that soaks up water, she has an entire produce garden that she uses to feed herself and her family and those random dog walkers that pass by her house. 

“People walk their dogs, and they see all this produce growing outside. It’s fun! I’m always pushing zucchini on people. Innocent passersby—and I am just like, ‘Here, Take this!’” chuckled Trupti. 

Even more than sustainability, gardening is an art form for Trupti. She wants nothing more than to design her spaces to bring happiness to others, to offer a beautiful glimpse into nature or a sweet taste of its offering. It brings joy to others’ lives when they see beautiful flowers and produce growing. After all, who doesn’t love flowers? Especially in springtime. 

Trupti planted enormous mammoth sunflowers for several years, which passersby would exuberantly point out. 

“ People would be like, ‘There’s that sunflower house!’” Trupti said. “It’s fun to create that dynamic between you and other people. It allows you to talk to people you wouldn’t talk to otherwise. It’s just a great community builder.”

Through her horticulture exploration, Trupti has inspired numerous people in her community to start gardening and grow their own produce instead of buying it from the grocery store. Now her next-door neighbors have even started their own gardens in their yards. She wants her community to know that it’s a great practice and an achievable aspiration for everyone. 

“Start small—even in the smallest space, you can grow something,” she said. “Plant things you like to eat and that have a short season. It’s not easy. You have to want to do it and be interested, but really anyone can!”

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