Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Community Gardens

The idea of growing one's food, as radical and impossible as it seems to most urban dwellers- particularly my NYC followers - is not only not radical but is the most reasonable, conventional and bland idea ever. I'm sure you know where I am going with this- humans have been growing our own food for consumption for thousands of years. Even when agricultural societies started emerging- about ten thousand years ago during the Neolithic period- people were still close to their food source. In fact, it is the idea that you are far removed from your food source that is radical. In the history of humanity, it is very recent that we've started to divorce food production from food consumption, with industrialization accelerating that separation as transport systems, pesticides and mechanized forms of production became not only wide spread but accepted and inexpensive.
The privilege of eating produce out of season transformed from an indulgent luxury to one that taken for granted in the industrialized world. The growth of pesticides and oil based fertilizers have allowed food from around the world is pumped with steroids, colored, and are genetically modified. We have lost our ability to know what grows when, let alone where, and with that any awareness of the enormous resources- energy, water, labor amongst others- involved in its production and transport.
Food is consumed- not enjoyed, and if it is enjoyed is enjoyed only as it is cooked and eaten. Growing our own food multiples our enjoyment exponentially as it creates so many opportunities for joy in the entire process- from planting to seeding to harvesting to cooking to eating it.
As a committed urban dweller, I have struggled with connecting with my food in a that does not require me to move to the suburbs or some far away way rural area. I have been intrigued with the multiple opportunities for urban farming which include reclaiming empty lots, roof top gardens and vertical gardens and reminded that less than 200 years ago our great urban playground, Central Park, was home to roaming pigs and small farmers.
Today I visited a community garden in Forress whose members are experiencing various successes, struggles and victories in growing their own food.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

as a meat eater what are you going to do -- have cows roam up and down 5th avenue?