Garden Summer Here We Go.
Photo: Ben Williams
The garden is planted. A week of footage wrapped. The suburbanites home until June.
I’ve settled into the daily hum of farm chores. I make trips to the country store, I look after the chickens, and I weed. Well… mostly I weed.
Time to refocus on purpose. Back in November I came up with the brilliant tagline: “Integrated Sustainability: A New Brand of Progress” ….Um. Rather obnoxious.
Yet I can’t quite let it go. Why are we making this documentary? To show how fulfilling/doable/fun/beautiful this way of life can be and to inspire small changes.
A couple thoughts:
We can never go back to the days of no technology. Sure, one could completely isolate but that’s not helping anything… it’s downright unrealistic.
Last night I went grocery shopping at the Whole Foods down the street (or “Whole Paycheck” as I affectionately call it). For the first time, I truly considered how far each item had traveled to get to my shopping cart. I stood anxiously in front of the bananas and grapefruits for a good 2 minutes. This time of year, everything seemed to start off in California or Mexico.
Along with doggie food and two cans of vegetable stock from lord knows where, I bought rainbow chard from Pennsylvania and milk from Virginia. The milk came in glass bottle that I can return for two dollars. I was ecstatic.
I pondered over this unreasonable excitement as I made dinner. (Which was lovely… I haven’t “had time” to make a real dinner in ages) Why so smug over milk and chard?
Michael Pollan (the oh-so-celebrated Michael Pollan) writes,
Imagine if we once again knew:
Even in tiny increments… it felt good to know that my milk and chard were traveling a more reasonable distance to my refrigerator. That I was living more within the means of a more reasonable food system. Sure the blueberries looked nice but now it feels like an uncomfortable splurge to buy produce from South America. It’s like that sick feeling you get when you go on an Anthropologie shopping spree you definitely can’t afford. (…just a random example)
So I begin with milk and chard. A perverse combo for sure… but it’s a start.
It is also effective, satisfying, and powerful. In 1973, E.F. Shumacher wrote about the problem of production. He asks, “why so big?”
I get it, the industrial revolution has done a lot for me and you. We are masters of technology with the world at our fingertips.
Yet we search. Our lives are busy, complicated, and strangely isolated.
Innovation is important. Lord knows I’m itching for an iPhone just like the next gal. But what about paring down? Simplicity feels damn good. Just a thought. More later.