In light of recent hard-to-ignore political events, it feels necessary to weigh in, to not ignore what is transpiring across the country. I see many garden bloggers posting business-as-usual articles about growing flowers, and I’m conflicted. On one hand, we need to keep our heads above water, to avoid being enveloped by whichever side of the political news bubble we read, and to take a break once in awhile. On the other hand, staying silent doesn’t serve the greater community. So here it is, my take on this whole thing.
For more than 25 years, I’ve grown part of my daily diet myself. The desire to do so came from environmental concerns I learned of as a teenager: excessive use of pesticides, weed killers and chemical fertilizers that wreak havoc upon our living soil, upon our wild creatures, and upon our bodies. My concerns expanded to include the resources we dig out of the ground and turn into things that can’t be recycled, reused, or composted. We throw them away…there is no “away.” Is this how we treat the one home we’ve got? Everything I do and say comes from this point of view.
Don’t get me wrong, I care deeply about civil liberties, human rights, peace, safety, and justice. But none of that matters if our planet is uninhabitable. The attitude that we’ll eventually get around to reducing carbon emissions by 2050 while still extracting fossil fuels, that we’ll eventually restore our soil by slowing phasing out soil-depleting agricultural practices at some later date is ludicrous to me. It needed to happen yesterday. So when someone comes into office and takes action to reverse any progress that has been made toward stabilizing the human impact on the planet, and who hasn’t even said word one about improving our food system, it concerns me.
As a gardener, I thought my biggest battle would be to get Hillary to break her bonds with Monsanto and Big Ag. Now instead we have someone who denies that climate change exists, regardless of whether it’s caused by humans or not. I’ve always said, just ask a gardener and he or she will tell you what’s changed. Growing food gives us that kind of knowledge.
The Gardenerd community crosses all boundaries. We have conservatives and progressives. We have rural and urban gardenerds alike. We have religious folks and atheists. We have wealthy westside moms and struggling immigrant apartment dwellers, and we all have one thing in common: we love growing food. We love taking charge of our lives in that small way to make a difference.
This new wave of political influence threatens the land we live on, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink (and irrigate our gardens with). The threat is couched in a promise of jobs but we are clever humans, we can do better. Now more than ever, we need to garden. There are so many jobs to do: We need to heal our soil, grow healthy food, train people to tend the land, and work together toward a sustainable future. It is the kind of economy I want to see thrive.
So I don’t care if you’re conservative or liberal, everyone eats. Everyone. Our planet’s health is everyone’s problem. We can each tackle the problem in our own way. Mine is gardening. I do not think the current administration believes in the power of gardening, so I’m just going to have to prove them wrong. Are you with me?