There comes a time when books have been read, discussions exhausted, debates laid to rest, blog entries written, and we say to ourselves, "Now what?". We know what we believe, what we want to change, how we want to adjust our lifestyles to our new set of priorities. At this point, as if often the case, we find ourselves in a quandary as to how we take a first step, and in what direction we should walk.
I have realized I am far from the only one who feels this way regarding what action to take in working towards changing our food system from the industrial and unsustainable to the natural and long-lasting. I do not live on a farm. I have a postage stamp of a yard in the middle of the city of Dayton. I am not zoned for livestock, although the idea of chickens in my backyard has crossed my mind several times.
So what can we, as city dwellers, do?
Go into your yard and reassess. Sure, I don't have acreage, but I have a deck, I have parts of my yard that are being used for nothing. I have soil, I have water, I have access to expertise and products needed to grow things.
And so, as a first small step, I will plant my meager garden. Although, I think meager is maybe not a fair description. I like, humble. Humility is a trait all of us should strive for anyway, so why not my garden as well?
I started my foray into growing food last year. I don't have a green thumb (it's more a brownish green...BDU colored, but I'm hoping to change that with more experience), and I haven't done any gardening since I was a kid forced to pull weeds in our childhood backyard garden. Nonetheless, I had an impressive array of herbs, zucchini, peppers, lettuces, and tomatoes. Not too shabby, I'd say.
So this year, I am going bigger and hopefully better. I am tilling up part of the backyard for an additional gardening plot. I will add my granulated organic cow poo, and I will plant. I will apply my homemade compost and I will feed the soil. I will tend my plants, brooding over them and willing them to succeed. I will have my daughter pulling weeds.
I am telling you from personal experience that there is nothing like the satisfaction you get from watching something grow that you planted. There is an almost giddy excitement, a childlike feeling of innocent joy. I felt that again last week when I saw the first delicate sprouts of radishes, lettuce, peas, and broccoli push through the soil in their makeshift egg carton planters in our greenhouse window. I will feel it again when I move them to their permanent spot where they will be joined by the likes of tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, beans, herbs, carrots, maybe some onions, watermelon, strawberries.
The act of planting your own garden may not seem like much in the way of action, but it is a personal and visual witness to all who see it, hear about it, and eat of it, a personal rebellion against a system that has never been tenable. So, go forth, sow and plant!
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