Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day

This is Blog Action Day - we are going to pay attention to what is going on in our environment, and notice that the climate is changing. In my corner of the world we had unprecedented eighty degree weather in mid-October!

I have read that organic gardening alone would be a big help in solving the climate crisis. Apparently producing chemicals for non-organic fertilizers has a major impact on climate.

Then there is guerilla gardening: the act of cultivating someone’s land without permission. It has been going on for several hundred years! The home page is at

Finally, a while back, I watched a video about urban gardening in Cuba. It was necessity that drove this movement, when Russia collapsed and no longer sent food and other supplies to Cuba. So the gardens are all organic - no chemicals were coming into the small island country. They are near the people who consume the food so transport has less impact than in the U.S. What a wonderful thing. I think we could learn from their necessities before food becomes quite so dire an issue here in the States.

Thus, pushed by the recession and the high price of quality food and gas to get to the stores, two friends and I planted an organic garden this spring. A wonderful woman gave us almost all the seeds we needed and wanted, saying this is her way of being the change she wants. She saves seeds. Someone in our agricultural surroundings gave us goat manure for free as well. I have done some gardening before this, but it was mostly flowers and herbs.

I remember my roots: My dad's family always had a garden (and Dad still does); and my mom's dad was a dairy farmer. In his day the way to keep the fields fertile was to rotate crops and put manure on the fields. Did you know that chemical fertilizer wasn't available until the World War I era? It was a new way to fix nitrogen, and it was developed for bombs. Michael Pollan talks about it in The Omnivore's Dilemma ( a wonderful book to read if your are interested in how we get our food these days).

Fortunately for me, I have an autoimmune disease that gets worse when I eat processed food, sugar and grains. When I realized the medical model would have me taking immune suppressant drugs, I decided to look at my food very carefully. Now I eat LOTS of vegetables, some fruit, some chicken and fish, occasional turkey, eggs, nuts and seeds. I do NOT eat corn syrup - high fructose or otherwise.

Having an organic garden felt like going back to my roots.

So I planted a variety of seeds: basil dill chives, cilantro, lettuce, wax beans zucchini, tomatoes, snow peas and lots of flowers. All summer long I ate greens of several kinds, wax beans, onions, zucchini, tomaotes, and, of course basil. Basil vinagrette, fresh pesto, and just basil in what I made - from soup to salad.

When I went to my garden to water, weed or glean for dinner, I felt at peace. What an amazing thing - to grow my own food! It really is empowering. If you haven't ever planted your own garden, do it now!

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