Saturday, February 2, 2013

Subversive gardening

I recently read an article where there are places in the United States where gardening is illegal. People are not allowed to grow their own food! We live in an age where many people in the world starve while others drown in processed food that is slowly killing them - and it's cheaper to eat it than fresh food. It seems to me that gardening can now be seen as a subversive act. Apart from being illegal, how might growing your own food be subversive?

Firstly, without pesticides, agribusiness, etc we are protesting against so called efficiency. True enough to feed the world we can't rely upon old methods - the world is too big for that. However, efficiency is not the only or primary factor in what it means to flourish as a human. In a world of fast food, slow food grown from scratch is a protest against machine like efficiency that relegates human feelings and other aesthetic aspects of food production as secondary.

I'd add here that shopping at farmer's markets is still a good way of achieving this.

Secondly, storing seeds from previous generations of food protests against business control of food itself. Taking seeds from pumpkins and growing them rather than buying the seed recognizes the reality of natural cycles in a world where many protect themselves from the seasons, indeed as global warming changes the seasons.

Thirdly, growing food forms an attitude of gratitude as we learn that we are in a relationship with the earth - care and tend it and it provides us with a bounty in an almost miraculous way.

Lastly (though I am sure there's more), it's a protest against the idea that all joys are technologically mediated (yes the irony, I'm blogging). Nothing is simpler in a sense than hands in soil rather than hands on remotes or keyboards.

So garden for the joy, the satisfaction, garden where you are in ground or pots, in protest and thankfulness.

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