This post will be cross-posted on the Urban Farm Hub on Feb. 3rd– check it out!
I am a weird mix of being a full-on optimist & a complete cynic. Lately it feels hard to find a lot of hope in the world at large.
So, I do things where I feel grounded and connected. I cook. I read. I make things. And I garden.
Gardening is my passion & my love. I approach gardening a bit like I do my cooking; with glee and reckless abandon. A mix of solid basic knowledge and intuition tossed in with frequent bouts of over-zealousness.
A large part of my passion comes from believing gardening is a radical act. Or I should say, can be a radical act. It can add unexpected beauty in surprising places. It can make statements about land use/land rights. Or be a stand for food justice…. which is where I “get my radical on.”
“Food justice is everyone having enough to eat; healthy food for our children; food that doesn’t contain harmful things that we don’t know about; freedom to grow our own food; ability to buy food directly from farmers; fair wages for those who grow, cook and work with food.” —Urban & Environmental Policy Institute
Isn’t that how it should be? How is this really up for debate?
Healthy, non-toxic food for all. Not just for those than can afford it. Not just those that “own” land (I use the term ‘own’ very loosely. How can you really own something that has been stolen or is a piece of the Earth?). Living wages for the farmers & all farm workers. The ability to grow our own food, save our own seeds and build community. These are values I want to instill in the babylady.
The babylady just turned 2 and she has been in the garden with me from the time of the first spring plantings following her birth. From the beginning I talked to her about everything I was doing. Strapped on me in the Ergo, listening to me yak on about compost, seeds, watering, sun, rain, tools, digging, beauty, crows and slugs, she is as happy as can be. Who knows…. perhaps I look like a loony lady up on a hill talking nonsense. But, the babylady–she loves her some garden time!
As she grew, she would sit on a blanket with our older dog, Otter (RIP ol’ girl) and watch, babble and point to birds and plants. Then as she began to crawl and walk, out came that hideous piece of plastic that was simultaneously the bane of my existence and my sanity-saver, the dreaded exersaucer. But, hey, it was the saucer or rock eating– you do what you gotta do.
She has been picking food from the garden as soon as she was able to eat solids. She’ll happily sit munching on strawberries, tomatoes, kale, parsley, chives, peas, beans for as long as I let her. She now begs to go outside and pick kale. It is frickin’ awesome and a tad bizarre.
A while back we picked up Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert from the library. It is a beautiful and simple book illustrating the planting of bulbs, seeds and seedlings and how they grow through the season to produce a rainbow of colors, etc. After reading it a bunch, we returned it to the library and moved on to monkey books.
Anyway, she begged to “go outside. pick kale. pick kale. go outside”, so on a rare sunny January Seattle day we walked in the garden and she crouched to look at some crocuses (that I have never mentioned) and she pointed and exclaimed “BULBS! BULBS! BULBS! Plant rainbow!” and looked up and me and smiles her awesome, dimpled, gap-toothed grin.
A 2-year-old. Engaged in her world. Engaged with her people. Engaged in her garden. Now, that is Hope in a Bulb.