Critics can say what they like about the rise in status of the food industry in our society, to my mind it has given voice to some of the most dangerous people on the planet; chefs, cooks and farmers. They’ve turned us on to new tastes, brought us back into the kitchen, championed Slow Food and local produce. All the while many of them have been sounding a call to action, blocking GMO seeds, refusing to serve endangered species and going head-to-head with corporate backed policy makers in support of good health and lowering obesity levels.
“Many kids can tell you about drugs but do not know what celery or courgettes taste like.” ~ Jamie Oliver
Those who tend the earth know well the connection between nature and man and how generously she feeds us. It’s folly to allow such a delicate system to fall out of balance, but scales have swung and we find ourselves now, on the precipice of change.
“First we sow the seed, nature grows the seed and then we eat the seed.” – Neil Young
Young people take to the streets, they wave signs and chat slogans in a peaceful protest of a system spun out of control. In the organic, fluid “Occupy Wall Street” movement there is an underlying theme that is about more than economics it’s about our ability to thrive and GROW.
Those who protest are being joined in great number, both in body and spirit, old and young in a cry for change. Let’s not forget how deep the rabbit hole goes, corporations have been taking over our family farms and messing with our food chain right down to its DNA. And if you think that one person can’t make a difference consider how all this started; with a young Tunisian man named Mohammed Bouazizi who used to sell fruit and vegetables.
“Control the food and you control the people.” ~ Henry Kissinger
Maybe you’re not the march in the streets type, maybe you choose to make simple adjustments in your everyday life to effect change and take your food back: Occupy a Farmer’s Market. Occupy locally owned restaurants. Occupy your kid’s lunchbox. Occupy the garden.
In an act of solidarity, I seed a garden that is not my own. Mine for a time, I can see the fingerprints of those before me who have loved this dirt. The heritage property I live in was first built in 1880, it has seen fire and change; all around it urban development spreads taking over what once was farm land.
I began with a little corner outside my door, it was bare mud until I planted it with shrubs, herbs and flowers. At first others thought I was crazy, “why are you doing all that work, you don’t own it.” Then my garden began to bloom. Soon neighbors joined in, some working with me others claiming space for themselves and their family. Every day I see it unfolding into something new.
Now I dig in the backyard, clearing a long overgrown space. Once the foundation for the barn, it has solid structure to protect tender shoots. This little patch of earth will favour our meals and be a place of beauty for our little community.
A garden left untended falls to nature and she does what she does best, runs wild. This garden once grew herbs. I found them struggling under rocks and ranging feral across the dirt floor. Pulling weeds and cutting back invading species, Mother Nature and I strike a bargain. She will foster what I sow, but if I walk away she will take it back, the way she always does and make my Secret Garden her own.
“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.” ― Michael Pollan
This is how I protest. Later, in an act of rebellion I shall make dinner with organic ingredients. In her day, my grandmother called organic produce ‘food’.