I am still reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It is stirring my soul, and waking my mind. I miss gardening. I miss waiting for tomato sprouts and the feathery leaves of carrot tops. I miss the anticipation and the realized success of making water, earth, sunlight and seeds bring forth roots, green leaves, flowers, fruit and new seeds. I'd like to have a fig tree, a lime tree and a Meyer's lemon, some guavas, and herbs. I would love to have raised beds with veggies and flowers, and three or four clucky hens. Reading the book makes me envious and anxious, because I feel left out of a cycle I believe in and understand. Even the things I do not understand about gardening and farming are like a prize to be won, a new mission to pursue. I planted my very own first garden when I was 10 years old, inspired by countless gardens my mother kept, and a garden left behind when a neighbor moved away. I was determined to salvage all I could, even when we were on the move ourselves. Here at Garage Mahal, I was barely able to squeeze in some sweet peas. They make me happy and wistful.
We should be alarmed about what is happening to our seeds, to the core of Earth's fertility and cycle, and we should be appalled by the travesty of ethanol fuel, and corporate monopoly and manipulation. We should seriously question the sense of growing, shipping and processing corn to make fuel. I know, there is so much to be angry and frustrated and scared about, and it can feel so pointless to care, because it's hard to change our beliefs and our habits. It's hard to feel deeply moved and sad about the wrongdoings in the world, but I think we can try, even a little bit, to understand our power, and to use our power to make improvements and to question the status quo.
I hope I haven't bummed you out, or completely turned you off from reading Barbara Kingslover's book. The book is not a lecture or a commandment. The book is about a family's year, living within their means and ability to grow their own food or to find it locally. It has recipes and anecdotes, reflections and confessions and facts we should all understand about the sources of our nourishment, and who's controlling what we eat.
For about 5 years I've been meaning to travel to Deorah Iowa, so I could gaze upon this beautiful farm, where people are dedicated to the preservation of heirloom seeds. If you have a garden or a free corner in the yard consider preserving some " Vermont Cranberry Beans," and try growing some "Aunt Ruby's Green Tomatoes." I'd like to plant " Hillbilly Potato Leaf Tomatoes," just to see the colors.