Thursday, February 21, 2008

"edible estates" piece

Here is the piece that I wrote for the "Edible Estates" book that I mentioned in my last post.

February 2007. The piece of paper in front of me looked something like this:

Pros - Two flat 14’ x 20’ plots of land; south-facing; full sun all day; I’ll see the garden every day as I walk out my front door.
Cons - Everyone else will see the garden every day as they walk past my front door.

It wasn’t so much a “con” as an uncertainty. An edible front yard would be good stewardship of the little piece of land that I have. Could the “con” of high visibility actually be a “pro”? I swallowed my doubt.

March arrived. I borrowed my neighbor’s tiller, turned my yard into a plot of dirt, and panicked momentarily as I passed the “point of no return.” I laid out a walking path, cultivated beds, put in herb borders, and planted seeds.

At the very least, the resulting garden is a talking point. It piques curiosity. I’ve met more folks in the neighborhood in the last four months than I have in five years. Some ask questions. “What’s that plant?” “Are squash and zucchini hard to grow?” Most offer words of encouragement. “I love walking by every day and seeing the progress.” “I really believe in what you’re doing.” “Looks fantastic - keep up the good work!”

In truth, I’m an amateur. Last year was my first attempt at growing vegetables. It started as a pastime, a fun novelty: vegetables to which I could lay claim from my own ground. In short time, it has raised my awareness of the origins of what I eat, made me more intentional about choosing food. More than that, though, I feel intimately connected with the Earth. Watching a seed emerge from its burial to grow into a plant larger than my arms’ reach - and being an active participant in this natural cycle - has evolved into a tangible expression of faith in the natural order of things. That it produces the same fruitful results over and over again, year after year, is nothing short of miraculous. That I can share this with others in my own front yard is icing on the cake.


Maggie & Tommy Redram said...

Beautiful. I am going to buy the book just to have your published work in my home!

What camera do you have? I mean, which Nikon? I looked seriously at the D40X but got swayed by a little Japanese woman who deals Canons. I do love it. :)

Rennie said...

Well done! You said so much in so few words! I'm not only proud of your literary accomplishment (I've always said it would come), but of the project itself. Who would have thought 20 years ago that one day you would not have to be told to "eat your vegetables"!!! Keep up the good work.

annabelle said...

Hey thanks for the mutual blog listing :) I really like your piece about the garden, especially the bit about how it further connected you to your neighbors. You should check out "See You in 100 Years." Different experiment, same experience of community.