Monday, 18 February 2008

WHEN IS BOUNTY TOO MUCH?

Maggie's comment about most people in the world having to spend their time just getting enough food for themselves made me feel quite uncomfortable because I have so much. This morning I cleared out one of my cupboards to fit in the new season's preserves and discovered what every gardening cook regularly discovers - too much food. These are excess jams made by my mother, my friends and myself over the last year. I could make a new year's resolution to eat more jam or I could give it away but whatever the case, I grow and collect and make much more than a small family needs while millions of people die of starvation. It is completely crazy. It brings more than one tear to my eyes; if only I could send it off to a family in Africa or somewhere, with loaves of bread and lashings of butter...holy valotta we bloggers have a lot of work to do to sort out what to do for the best. No-one else is doing it.
Where the jams were, now sits all this bounty, with a space for my as yet unlabelled peach and date chutney. This is not all, my whole life revolves around growing and cooking more everyday so my family and friends can eat well and be happy. I can and do nip out to the garden and pick nearly all the vegetables and herbs for almost every meal the whole year, just because I want to. Combined with my own and my mother's fruit we need to buy only dairy (very local and organic) and meat (nearly all feral) and, of course a couple of little (locally made) extras I need from time to time.

Life is good, for me, and yet I feel mighty guilty and always have. What to do about it - sure we donate to Ryan's Well, we sponsor a young lad in Bangladesh and support a local student through the Smith Family here in Adelaide. Every week at the central market I donate to a bloke that stands collecting to feed the hungry of Adelaide, and so on. Is it enough? No. But there are too many people for the world to support at any level, never mind at my level of affluence and it is getting worse. Now I am working through this in my mind and I am coming back to the same conclusions I always make, again guiltily, about what my contribution should be - show people how to reduce their footprint on the earth so that we can even things out somewhat between those that can afford to indulge and those that are starving. That is what I think I could do and I want to do but it is hard to get a grip on where to actually start and how to make it work, instead of just sitting here and writing off into the ether about it.


These magpies and a noisy-miner are happy with my bounty and are enjoying the windfall peaches.




This frog decided that today, at about 40 C, it was a good time to discover my new water garden and did a bit of sunbathing while about it. Frog, flower, food - such bounty in my garden.

I love terracotta - from the earth and back to the earth when its done. These spring onions love it too and I find them much easier to find when they are in a pot.
This local native Scaevola (Fan Flower) is one of my special favourites. I don't know why but I feel very close to this plant.
Well, there are so many things I want to write about, that I care about and that is why I wrote that little introduction at the top, above the meetings details, that said we are..."a group of seedsavers in pursuit of peace and passion in the vegetable gardens of South Australia". I also feel that growing food and writing about it makes me feel like a curator of chaos in the edible world. I like throwing words together that make an impact but I need somewhere to throw them that matters! Leading a fearlessly authentic life is all very well but it is not quite enough.

2 comments:

kate said...

Nicely stated, Kate. A very thought-provoking post.

And I love the pic of the magpies eating the peaches. We don't have magpies here on the BC coast.

Deb said...

you should not go around feeling guilty Kate growing & preserving your own food is very important, so is sharing the ideas and skills.We can only do a certain amount (she says observing zillions of watts streaming from the neighbours house. A house until recently we could not even see for the trees.Now blots the landscape.)There are different worlds with different values. At Terra Madre (world meeting of small produces) I met a man, I asked him what he did he said'I'm a farmer' I asked him what he farmed he said 'I have a cow and a goat' I asked his friend are you a farmer? he said 'no, I'm a small farmer' so I enquired what he farmed. His answer 'I have a dog and 3 chickens' I also met a group of women who caught insects for food.Values all change what we see as riches others see as not important. I myself beleive having time to observe,and be part of nature,grow & share my food with others is tops. Top lifestyle, Top flavours ,Time rich , Money poor the way for me