I bought and read Barbara Kingsolver’s latest book a few weeks ago, and it’s both an inspiration and validation to what we’re doing here, and to what more and more people are doing around the country: growing and eating as much local food as we can. It’s the best kind of activism, since it involves copious pleasure while at the same time using less fossil fuel to bring us our dinner. It also helps, I think, to not be an absolutist; salt, pepper, olive oil, coffee, most of our wine and spices, and fruit in the off-season all come from somewhere else, and I think that’s OK. We live, after all, in a global economy.
My Mother had a garden when I was growing up, and some of my earliest memories are of doing what Milo is doing right now- “helping” by picking peas or strawberries then eating them all. In the age of the scientifically honed marketing of awful crap pseudo-food to the very young, I look at our garden as an antidote- or at least a vaccine- against the corporate factory food machine that is killing our soil, our wildlife, and our people in front of our eyes. We vote in elections, true, but voting with our eyeballs (we have no TV reception) and with our wallets (by choosing this kind of food, among other things) are just as important; the free market is an instrument of activism too. Beyond polemics, though, my son is learning that food comes from the ground, and he eats more kinds of food than any other kid his age that I know of. We eat together almost every night, and every day he asks to go outside and look for berries, or mint, or to come in the garden and eat peas or radishes. And he asks for truffle oil on his risotto. He’ll be three in September.