Grow Your Own in The City — Fruits and Veggies, That Is

Speaking of Hillary’s energy platform and conservation plans, here’s a slide show from the 5/7/08 New York Times “Dining & Wine” Section, entitled City Sprouting and another article today 5/8 about urban gardeners selling their produce. In comments to my recent post, “Hillary’s Energy Plan: Real Progress,” a pro-nuclear power advocate evangelically commented here about nukes being The Way. I’d replied that we can eat more healthfully and save on transportation costs by eating locally grown foods. He had some sarcastic replies about it taking us back 200 years to growing only turnips and bacon. Yes, for some folks, it’s all or nothing.

I prefer the Buddhist precepts of “first do no harm.” You can think of this in terms of taking care of your body, your health, your home, your neighborhood, your town, your city, your state, your country, and the environment. During WWII, there were lots of victory gardens planted by necessity, and in the 1970s some suburban dwellers dug up their lawns to plant organic veggies. The actions and choices we make affect our wellbeing, and can begin with small steps.

Of course, every Spring there’s an article about urban gardens, sometimes about neglected or previously paved spaces being opened up to create them. People begin to feel their lives improve by getting their hands in the dirt, by planting a seed or seedling that they can watch develop and grow into food that they feed, weed, harvest, prepare, share, and eat. Their diet might change for the better, as they gain appreciation of nature, get exercise, and begin to interact with and get to know their neighbors while working toward a common cause. It’s always a small movement, in pocket gardens here and there, but that’s how every movement begins.

If more people got in touch with nature in a quiet, Walden-like way, you know communed with Mother Nature our origin and source, I think as a society we’d be more content and better off. I’m not speaking of riding rough shod over nature for a fast, exercise-motivated tour, or romping around on four-wheelers or SUVs. I mean really sitting or walking slowly, hearing birds and insects sing their songs, seeing the shapes of leaves, variations in tree bark, and the wear of rivers and creeks on a rock or drift wood, the glint of sun as it sets over a canyon, the breeze as it moves through and makes the trees wave and say hello. If each person in our fast-paced world got quiet enough to notice those miniscule worlds within worlds, environmentalism would be an outgrowth of our connection to the earth as a part of our nuclear family unit, not a chore to be accomplished like all others.

After a day of volunteering at Carl Schurz Park, working along with other neighbors, I stopped and chatted with another volunteer. Changing our focus from raking underbrush, lifting our gaze, we noticed that it was one of the first beautiful Spring days, and that the park had filled with sun bathers, baby strollers, bike riders, and people walking their pooches. She remarked that she can’t even go to her beloved park during the weekend, because people’s inconsideration pisses her off. “This guy was walking his bike through a fenced off area where new grass was being nurtured. Another time, a woman just walked her dog through the flower beds. ‘Excuse me,’ I said, ‘Don’t you notice you’re riding your bike in a fenced off area/walking your dog in the flower bed?’ They were so inconsiderate and just gave me a lame answer, like ‘Oh, I thought it was okay.'” Basically, so what.

I agreed, but said I felt it was more than being inconsiderate. For them, plants, nature didn’t really matter, weren’t part of their world, didn’t enter into the picture, they couldn’t relate, not part of life as they know it. If people were connected to nature, and understood how things grow, and had to grow their food or flowers or plants and saw and understood the work, elements, and conditions necessary to do so, they wouldn’t behave so cavalierly toward Mother Nature and her caretakers, which we all are.

We as a people have become ignorant as to our place in the natural world and the nature that lives within us and that we are a part of. It doesn’t exist in a real kind of way. When we take the time, even a moment, to notice and BE in the natural world, as in feeling one with it, we just naturally would want to take care of her.

Life goes on within you and without you.

— George Harrison

How the Big-Brained Woman Can Win

There once was a big-brained woman who was told that she could be whatever she wanted to be when she grew up. She listened and went on ahead, but during that same time a very ambitious young man decided to cut in line, and many people in the land fell under a haze of charisma. In order for him to keep up with her, he’d copy her in debates and make fun of her. He created a milieu amongst his legions, ignited with kerosene by the media, where it seemed okay for them to put her down. But the big-brained woman insisted on sticking to the issues. Although her motives were constantly questioned, many other legions in the kingdom listened and concluded that her big-brain, her experience, and her compassion were compelling qualities of leadership.

Ohh, it’s bed time, sweetie. I’ll finish the story later.

A few weeks ago, after Mark Penn was out, Geoff Garin was in as chief strategist. He wrote to Hillary’s constituency for feedback about the campaign. I wrote him a delayed reply after Tuesday’s primary and the subsequent increased calls from Democratic Party members for Hillary to “get owwww-tttt, get owwww-tttt of the race.”

Dear Geoff,
Thanks for asking and sorry for my delayed reply. I’m a die-hard Hillary supporter who blogs on behalf of her and her platform, and against the media and their unconscious bias as expressed in their language, the staggering number of anti-Hillary commentators and guests, etc. My young cousin has worked in several states for her campaign for the last year, and my other cousins were Clinton delegates the first time around.

Hillary’s strongest suits are her programs, her plans, and her knowledge of so many facts, figures, and situations in a myriad of domains — all that in addition to her amazing grasp of the Big US, World, and Planet Picture. That is of course why she kills in the debates.

I haven’t seen the latest of what the media and Obama’s camp term as negative ads, but I don’t think she can win that way. I think she CAN win if she keeps emphasizing her programs and platforms as in the debates. She could easily put him on the defensive in that way. Obamahaze is apparently driven by his qualities of being a charismatic generalist powered by personality and little substance, offered to people who want to Believe In America Again. At the same time he puts Hillary down as being negative. But when she tries to push back, or call him on his platform, or on that he blocked seating Florida and Michigan according to their votes, SHE is accused of negativity and breaking up the party. Instead, she needs to make him try to catch up with HER on the issues. She’s so strong there. I absolutely agree with her standing for FL & MI votes and voters, and her pointing out that Obama said Indiana would be the tie-breaker. Count the Votes!

Because Obama uses hope and “new politics” to slur Hillary, and create hollow excitement, she can only lose by going negative. He’ll just say it’s “the same old Washington.” She can win by overwhelming him on the real issues that appeal to progressives–the environment, the economy, getting out of Iraq.