Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Political horticulture

Twice in the past week I've gone out to knock on doors with a friend of mine, Seneca Scott, who is running for State Congress. He is a solid Progressive Democrat and I really hope he wins! For the working people!

There are some pretty low income areas included in the vast area that makes up his district. We saw a lot of broken drainage pipes, mean looking dogs (including one pit bull that was loose and growled at us...I got back in the truck...), and abandoned houses, as well. That area - huge, like I said, lost its last grocery store a year ago. Even the neighborhood cornerstores have packed up and left. You want food? Drive several miles to the nearest SuperWalmart or hit up a convenience store (for expensive junk).

But what struck me, as we knocked on door after door, was how many of these people were growing their own food. Two of the people we spoke with specifically mentioned "putting in a garden" to save money recently. I saw some nice looking plots that contained greens, tomatoes, peppers, etc. One gentleman looked to have an urban homestead going with rick upon rick of firewood and a huge garden full of okra, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, etc. It was definitely enough to support a family. One woman was saving water in old milk jugs to water her plants with later when it dries up around here. She had woven together a lovely frame of sticks to cover up the five-gallon buckets in which many of her plants were growing. It looked really nice. And - to top it off, we heard roosters crow in 2 different areas!!!

I wish this was done more! Homegrown produce, homegrown eggs (I so want chickens!) and maybe even meat! But although we saw several places growing veg, most were not. Each time I saw a wide open plot with plenty of sun I had to mention that it would be a great place for a garden; I'm sure I grew tiresome. In one area the sidewalk banks are enormous - maybe 10 feet deep. That would be perfect for a full sun garden. And we saw a lot of free, wild edibles growing around the area, too (less needless mowing activity).

We need a homegrown cultural revolution. We need victory gardens! Defy the corporate mindset, corporate agriculture, and nameless, faceless, tasteless food! Get dirt under your fingernails! Get out into those psychologically healthy restorative spaces. Make your back hurt and your skin glow! Get off your duff and plant something!

"Hallelujah! Holy sh*t! Where's the Tylenol?" (Name that movie.)

8 comments:

Hausfrau said...

That sounds great! How much money do you think gardening saves? For an experienced gardener, a good bit. For me, probably a lot less so :). I tried to figure it once but got stuck on "prewashed greens" - saving $3 x 20 weeks = $60. That seemed good enough to justify the investment in seeds, straw, and fertilizer, so I quit there.

Lewru said...

Did you recognize the movie???

anajz said...

I know I am currently in the hole with my garden at the moment, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? At least I helped our local economy on a bit with my purchases though. :)

Was it one of the Chevy Chase movies?

Lewru said...

Warm!

Bee said...

I so want a couple of chickens too. Unfortunately living within city limits that will not happen. Good luck to your friend winning his district.

Bee said...

Christmas Vacation?

Lewru said...

Ding ding. Exactly.

Verde said...

Wow, I glad to hear your post - I've been wondering how folks are doing in places where they were of marginal income in the first place.