Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When did having a garden become a radical act?

The article in the Sunday NY Times titled "Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?" has been nagging at me. It describes the recent groundswell of support for organic gardening, improving the nutritional value of school lunches, and a move towards organic, nutritious, and sustainable food in general. Some of my favorite food-activists, like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, are quoted. So why am I bothered?

I think it's because this "revolution" is not so new. Humans, of course, have grown, hunted, or foraged for their own food for almost the entire time we've been around. Organic gardening was the default for all but the last hundred or so years. If you didn't have a sustainable food system, sooner or later you'd run out of food.

Mostly, I worry that by labeling organic, sustainable food as a liberal or radical theme, we risk alienating more conservative people (who are usually the group most in need of adding more nutritious foods to their diet). They'll show us! They'll subsist on highly processed corn products!

Sometimes I think that blogs like mine are part of the problem, too. Food has become so politicized. There are good reasons for that, because the food system has inflicted great harm on animals and the planet. But nutritious, naturally produced food has an intrinsic appeal. It's much more delicious than the processed, packaged alternatives. You feel physically better after eating it. Food does not need to be so divisive.

Moving on...We planted a garden (mostly from seeds, so there's no pictures yet) last weekend for the sheer fun of playing in the dirt. I'm not sure our patio gets enough sunlight for everything to sprout, but we'll see. Truman enjoys the cat grass plant I picked up for him:

I'm sure most of you have read this article about new research on the risks of red meat. All of us vegetarians/vegans can hang out together in our old age.

Finally, the obligatory food picture, from taco nite. This is becoming a regular thing for us. This week's tacos were based on a mixture of black beans and fake hamburger meat, sauteed with tomato, garlic, onion, and chili powder. Of course avocados play a starring role, too.


Virginia said...

i love your, "hey man, i just want some muesli"...flight of the conchords is so is your blog!

Anonymous said...

growing grass for the cat is groovy, man.

Theresa said...

Careful, posting about such a radical act as growing cat grass and vegetables might get you an FBI file. It's so ridiculous how short our memories can be, really.

erica said...

Gardening is revolutionary if you look at it as a departure from the status quo. As it stands, a minority North Americans grow their own food. Agriculture is definitely fundamental to human civilization, but not to the average Joe Industrial's lifestyle.

Enough of that though. Scary stuff about that beef. Glad I gave it up. Tofu-munching Golden Girls, anyone?