Sunday, 5 June 2011
Many people today are striving hard to fit into today's culture.
Many of us vegetable gardeners feel a little out of place at social gatherings. We would much prefer to be in our gardens, pruning, planting, weeding, picking or preserving our produce.
Our to do list is endless, sorting seeds, making sauerkraut, pickling olives, transplanting seedlings, propagating cuttings and there is always pruning to be done.
I meet very few gardeners who are not keen to talk about what they have been growing or how the weather is affecting their garden.
So we have this group of home gardeners who meet together every few months and we always have a good time.
When we meet to swap seeds, excess produce and ideas, we also share part of our lives with each other.
We may meet for just a couple of hours but friendships are formed, phone numbers exchanged and the promises are made to share produce as it ripens and matures.
Someone has chokos to share, someone else has excess chillies, another has apples and firewood, the list goes on and on.
Cuttings and prunings, excess seedlings, potted plants are brought and given away.
Cuttings of herbs, curry leaves and berries, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and cardamom plants are divided and shared.
Variety is being added to people's gardens, new plants and ideas are being introduced.
People are taking things home to grow, things they had never heard about before. New flavours are introduced and as people try new things and use them at home, their palates change and they look forward to trying new and interesting plants.
And so for a few short hours people are introduced to new things, new ideas and new challenges.
If we lived in any rural area in any other country it would be a natural thing to save seeds and share with neighbours. But in Australia the majority of people are buying their fruit and veggies from large supermarkets or fruit stores. These unknown, mass farms are often using many harmful chemical sprays and fertilizers to achieve a perfect looking product, which looks good but lacks the flavour and nutritional value of organically grown produce.
Our priorities in life should be healthy pure rain water, fresh clean air, viable seed, local, organically grown food and a healthy lifestyle.
A lifestyle which includes rest and relaxation, time to spend with others, time to share a simple meal or wander around a friend's garden.
When you live in a city you see people constantly rushing around, driving children from one paid activity to another. Children who have been in child care all day are seen throwing tantrums in shopping malls and supermarkets as their hassled parents fill supermarket trollies with chemical laden foods, coloured beverages and other sugar laden sauces, cereals, sweets and cookies.
I guess I am just getting to be a grumpy old granny, but to those of us who grew up in the forties or fifties we remember a much different world.
Most families grew their own vegetables, had chickens for eggs and chicken for a special occasion.
There was no television, people sat and chatted about their day, listened to the radio or read books, played cards or board games.
All the neighbourhood children played cricket on the road, there were fewer cars and people rode their bikes, walked or caught public transport.
Anyone remember going to work in an old steam train?
I did. I caught the train from Liverpool Station to Central station in Sydney. A group of us teenagers met in the same compartment each day and played cards or just chatted.
Now the people I see walking the streets are plugged into their iphones or ipods and don't even look at anyone.
Time is money now, so people rush everywhere, drive like maniacs and have no concern for anyone but themselves.
So it is with great pleasure that I look forward to when our garden group meets again.
Our dream would be for every suburb to have a Community Garden and every Community Garden to have such groups meeting several times a year.