Sunday, 10 August 2008


I have been reading the latest copy of the US publication "Mother Earth News" and one of the first phrases in the editorial is....

.....individuals are inventing lifestyles that are more efficient, more eco-friendly, more exciting and more fulfilling.

The most interesting part of this is that there is a realisation that living closer to the earth is more exciting. Everyone needs a little something that stirs them into action each day but previously no-one would have called this lifestyle of growing your food exciting. Most think of excitement as something to seek out for immediate stimulation or something a bit dangerous or something mind-blowing. However, these things are momentary, often expensive and sometimes disappointing. The enjoyment wears thin and the everyday becomes monotonous.

Every now and then I get to take someone into my vegetable garden with me who has never gardened in their lives. We start slowly, by looking at one single plant, eg a lettuce, and talk a little about it. I get them to feel its leaves, point out the colours and textures. I tell them to pick it - I always carry a small knife in my pocket - they have to work with it and hold the lettuce and place it in the basket. They begin to ask questions. We move on and I show them some tiny somethings sprouting from the soil, as yet unidentifiable, and my enthusiasm begins to engage them in trying to see what I see. By the end of just a few minutes they inevitably say something like...." I never knew this could all be so exciting!" I send them home with a few seedlings of their own, maybe just some parsley, but still they are, for the first time, excited about living a little closer to the earth. Excited about living.... not doing a particular activity for a few minutes... but just living and seeing the possibilities and being all skippity doo.

As I have written about before in Two Very Different 20:20 Visions, the one thing that I think we need to do in our crumbling society is give people an opportunity to discover the excitement of growing a little food and living a tiny bit closer to the rhythms of the earth. That post explains why and how we might do this and I want to be a part of making it happen in the years ahead.


Maggie said...

It is certainly exciting watching our plants grow with all this lovely rain we are having.
This morning I found a worm in the dogs bowl, the ground must be too damp for them or they were just looking for leftovers. As if golden retrievers would leave anything!
I don't really know much about worms we shall have to get Ilex to write about them.

chaiselongue said...

Yes, it's good that people are realising that living close to the earth is exciting. I'm often surprised by how interested non-gardening friends are in my garden ... and they do find it exciting, even if they're not ready to do it themselves, yet. Growing your own food is a series of small miracles, every day, as seeds become plants become fruits. How can a tiny seed I put into compost in February produce a 500 gram tomato a few months later? We have to persuade many more people that this is a better lifestyle than consumerism and you're doing so much to bring this about, Kate.

Maya said...

See Kate? I do read your blog, and now I'm leaving a comment! So much of daily life has become stressful routine, as we are pushed into 'better' efficiency and cramming as much as possible into our short lives. People now equate extreme speed, sound, and risk with excitement. It's a real struggle raising our kids to appreciate the excitement in the quiet and the slow amidst all the commotion. The school gardens have been a great help in getting more neighborhood families to grow a bit of food at home and start to come together around some issues that affect us all. Thanks for providing some inspiration! Nice birds, by the way.