We could have a heaven on Earth, but what have we got? You’ve got to lock all your doors, all the time. Build something and you don’t know if somebody’s going to tear it down. Go to sleep thinking you’ve done everything you can for your loved ones, and you wake up realizing life’s thrown you another curve ball in the form of unexpected problems. Work your fingers to the bone, and what do you get? Boney fingers.
Why is this all happening to us – the economy tanking, the crops dying in the fields, extreme weather events? Could it have something to do with the fact that humanity, and we as a country, have gotten a little lazy about helping our neighbors? Or gotten a little greedy about the world’s resources? You have to at least admit we each ourselves haven’t always been completely loving. So why would we be surprised when other people and even nature smacks US around?
The fact is the Earth as a whole is profoundly disturbed, and we’re going to have to make peace if we hope to survive. We have to quit making money doing destructive things, such as war over resources rather than self-defense. We need to quit trying to beat nature into submission by e.g. mowing lawns, and nurture ALL plants to grow to soak up the carbon dioxide. We have to quit making and selling poison processed “food” to each other, and quit telling poisonous half-truths to each other to justify the destructive things we are doing.
So you have to say to yourself: What is really important? That reminds me of another thing my mother used to say – “Share and share alike.”
For the most part our community gardening experiences have been a joy. We worked hard to build things, sweated working together, slept well knowing we did our best, and enjoyed that legal high you get when you do something out of love. But we have much more to do. For myself, neighbors are welcome to any food I grow, as long as somebody eats it. Unfortunately, some harvesters don’t know when to harvest, and so have picked cantaloupe, peaches, and pumpkins before they were ready. And children have been having food fights with tomatoes. It feels overwhelming sometimes to me that we as a society have become so disconnected with our own world that we don’t get it, for instance, that tomato plants growing in the dirt (fed by manures, composts, rotting dead plants and animals) are what goes into making pizza, spaghetti, tomato sauce, catsup, chili, etc.
Our roots are in the Earth. Every one of us. We need to eat. And we won’t eat if we don’t work together to grow food, which is not a given in this time of great change.
I recommend a book called City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing, by Lorraine Johnson. The hunger drama being played out here in Hazelwood, in which people of all income levels suffer for lack of healthy food (not knowing about nutrition and food growing), is being played out all over North America, and all over the world for that matter. This book chronicles radical efforts – from guerrilla gardeners planting places they don’t own to edible weed activists opening peoples’ eyes about unrecognized healthy food growing all around us – to regenerate our tattered web of life.
Rather than reacting to higher food prices in fear by being ever more cutthroat in dealing with our neighbors and environment, the only successful way to make healthy food accessible for all is for all the different kinds of people to try to be good neighbors to all the other living things – plants and animals and microbes – which are the source of our food.
The attitude of taking from other people and nature without giving has got to stop – or else.