It sounds a bit corny but I have been on this ‘journey’ for a number of years now. I’m not sure exactly where it started. When I look back, it seems like it was a combination of things that set me on my path. Sure I’d always grown a few vegetables in my backyard, but nothing really substantial. I think I only grew a few plants because the adult version of me was trying to hang on to nostalgic memories of the farm house vegetable garden of my childhood.
Veg and smoked bacon broth
My lifestyle changes really stepped up a notch at a small inner city house that I renovated. It was a tiny backyard, mostly concrete. I hired a jack hammer and went mad. My flabby sick body wobbled as the hammer smashed through the thick concrete. My body was not in good shape, nether was my mind, and my ‘spirit’ or whatever you want to call that inner voice we have, he wasn’t very happy with me either.
I had a goal. For some reason I’d become fixated on converting that little backyard into an urban food bowl. I had romantic visions of walking out my back door, picking tomatoes from the vine and making a delicious breakfast. Which is a reality for me today. My dream has been achieved.
Like I mentioned, I’ve been on a journey. A corny journey. I had no idea where this little urban garden would lead to. I just knew that I wanted to do it. Like most gardens it grew, and not just in physical size. It grew so large that the boundaries of an urban fence could no longer contain it, so it moved inside of me. It’s taken over my way of thinking. It’s taken control of everything I do. It’s made me ask questions. It’s made my view of the world completely different. It’s made me reassess everything I believed in.
No one has all the answers to our world problems. I definitely don’t. I do however know that I am privileged in that I can make a choice of lifestyle that involves growing my food, hunting off the land and harvesting what nature provides. That’s definitely not the answer for everyone, especially city dwellers. What’s needed is a fundamental shift in western consumer habits and a cap on population growth. Two things I fear will never be addressed.
Today the Doomsday clock ticked over to three minutes to midnight. It won’t have any impact though. It will not change any of the decisions our leaders of government and industry will make. The machine of human progress and growth is just far too powerful. It has unstoppable momentum now. I used to think that us end consumers could make the change our world needed, but I feel more and more that the behaviorial shift for an individual is far too confronting and intimidating for many to accept, and therefore they remain intrenched in the conventional system, and the machine continues to churn. Depressing right?
But is there hope? I often speak to people that have become ‘enlightened’. People that have become aware of the impacts of western consumer culture, people that have learnt about the impacts of western food, lifestyle. People that have taken the time to become aware. When I speak to these people, when I share a meal or a conversation with them I feel some little glimmer of hope. The enthusiasm we share with each other is often a recharge we need. It’s draining to see so much around us that we know is not positive, that we know is detrimental for our health as humans and of this earth. We need to support each other, and to continue to share.
A new year has begun, new possibilities will present themselves. I want to share as many meals and conversations with people, to encourage and support, love and nurture.
Today when I sliced through sun warmed tomatoes from my garden, chopped basil and grilled jalapeño then drizzled home made red wine vinegar over it, I stood staring at that bowl of food. If only I could somehow share this with everyone. Share the experience of propagating the seed, raising the plant, watering, feeding then finally harvesting and cooking. Then enjoying all that effort, that sense of accomplishment, and the undeniable nutritional sustenance it provides. Would sharing that experience help open doors for an individual, to make the change our world needs? Is it just a matter of us sitting, eating and sharing conversation the starting point for hope?
We sure need action. We need more people to stop simply talking about it, instead we need to implement the change in our consumer habits. We need to walk the walk.
To share ideas and good conversation over some real food is definetely a good starting point.
I hope this year is a good one.