Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First harvest... and a thanks

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post about my run-in with barnyard betty. I am overwhelmed and humbled by your words of support and encouragement. You made me laugh, you made me cry, but mostly you helped reinforce my resolve to carry on and keep trying to make a difference.

Now, on to the radishes.

We had our first harvest on the farm recently and it's hard to describe the intense feeling of pride and accomplishment when you dig down in the warm soil and pull out a gorgeous specimen of edible goodness.

I mean this is what all this hard gardening work is about, isn't it? Even though it was just a radish, generally relegated to the humble status of "garnish," it was food, real food, that came from our garden.

It's no wonder that Sharon Lovejoy, author of "Sunflower Houses: A book for children and their grownups" and "Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots; Activities to do in the garden", among other books, lists radishes among her "Top 20 plants for kids."

She writes, "They're so easy to grow that they make children feel like master gardeners."

But it's more than that. To see my kids connect the dots between planting a seed and harvesting a beautiful vegetable was beyond fulfilling. In a world where too many children consider the grocery store the point of origin for their food and the average meal travels thousands of kilometres from farm to plate, here was local eating at its best. And let me tell you, the earthy-spicy flavour of grated radish tasted so good in my veggie wrap!

The activist in me takes immense satisfaction in this simple subversive act against an industrial food system that's destroying the only earth we have. The mother in me loves that her kids simply love to play in the dirt.

The best part is, you don't need a farm to help cultivate a child's love, or at least appreciation, for growing things. Start a windowsill herb garden, nurture a tomato in a pot or grow potatoes in a barrel.

If the next generation learns to tread lightly on this earth, maybe we can put an end to this madness otherwise known as resource depletion, peak oil, climate change, diabetes and obesity epidemics and even nature deficit disorder. I believe that nurturing a relationship with the natural world is the only chance we have for a future.

And to think that can all start with a humble radish.


Erin said...

Great post! Some think it's strange that I have done my best to recreate a messy, productive mini farm in my yard in the city, but several years ago I realized, "why wait?"..... If I waited until my husband is out of the military to start our country life for my kids, well, the kids would be like 16!! The time is always NOW! said...

So true, Erin! And I've seen the photos -- there is nothing messy about your mini farm. All I see is productive growing goodness!

Mama Pea said...

Holy humongous radishes! It's so, so scary to think that there actually adults out there and kids currently growing up having NO IDEA where our food comes from.

Another excellent post, Fiona. Keep 'em comin'!

Mr. H. said...

I read and really enjoyed your latest article this morning and wanted to let you know that my wife and I would love to have more "city" folks like you in our neck of the woods. You truly are making a difference, a big one, I can easily see it with how you are positively influencing the next generation...your children.

Perhaps Betty is simply as jealous as we are that you can grow such marvelous radishes.:) Keep up the good works!

fall soft on a thought said...

what a great post, i really enjoyed reading it! we have a farm too (, and i grew up on a large farm. i think about how my children will feel growing up as farmers with a minimalist lifestyle in their electronically dominated world - if that will ostracize them amongst their peers. this is such a positive post about the joys of experimentation and learning in the garden, i love it. so upbeat! thank you!
rae said...

Rae -- thanks so much for your comment and for your visit! Yes, I also wonder if my kids will feel ostracized by their peers, if they'll feel 'left behind' or 'out of the loop' but I also think that they will inherit a very different, and harder, world than the one we know. I can only hope these early life lessons will serve them well!

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