Saturday, February 03, 2007

Seeds of gardening (idealistic ol' me) ..

It's February. It's Iowa. It's cold (-2 degrees F for a high today). I'm jealous of some of the great looking fresh veggie dishes I see being cooked in other parts of the country (and out of it). I know my spring will come again though, the garden catalogs are coming in the mail even though I'm not quite totally inspired to read through them yet. I just found out that I will go unpaid for only 4 weeks of the summer and yet will be off for about 12 weeks. As I think about work I may not bake at the farmer's market this summer because I am discovering a growing interest into more gardening. Previously I have been pretty practical in raising my children and food from my garden, but now I am entering into a new phase in family and life and will probably need to change my profile description soon to describe the changing and growing me.

Vegan blog land has been changing as it seems bloggers I first met when I started almost a year ago are busier, but new ones are beginning to appear that are fun/ inspiring reads. Although I still have a passion for friendly (veg) food, I am finding myself thinking more and more about things in life that have given me great meaning and satisfaction. These thoughts are often fueled by what I see around me.... kids. Although there are still homes that can produce children whose needs are met (physical, intellectual, emotional, mental, social), there are an incredible number of kids who aren't----- WHY? My great, big compassionate mamma's heart wants to take them all in and put them to work in my garden, give them common practical household chores, a routine, and someone who is usually busy with something yet awake at the table drinking hot tea at all hours of the night ready to be interrupted to listen to the latest doldrems and excitements. My common cure for all ills (mentioned when it seems appropriately humorous) is, "Have you had any green vegetables today? How about alive food... something still fresh like it came from the garden." Then I mumble something about a body being unable to do it's job of keeping us emotionally balanced and acne free without feeding our "healer" cells the food they need (Mom's cure all = green vegetables, living food).

I can't take them all in of course, but I have been thinking I can offer more skills. Gardening skills in the summer... a day camp of sorts. I had some thoughts about this in the back of my mind for the last couple of years now intertwined with some geographical lesson plans centered around food and cultures, a sprinkle of some social science diversity acceptance for my rural little midwestern town, and food of course.

Although on the outside necessity has made me practical, I am hopelessy idealistic! I have also been totally taken by a book I read for a children's literature class some time ago called SEEDFOLKS by Paul Fleischman.
Amazon review:
"Sometimes, even in the middle of ugliness and neglect, a little bit of beauty will bloom. Award-winning writer Paul Fleischman dazzles us with this truth in Seedfolks--a slim novel that bursts with hope. Wasting not a single word, Fleischman unfolds a story of a blighted neighborhood transformed when a young girl plants a few lima beans in an abandoned lot. Slowly, one by one, neighbors are touched and stirred to action as they see tendrils poke through the dirt. Hispanics, Haitians, Koreans, young, and old begin to turn the littered lot into a garden for the whole community. A gift for hearts of all ages, this gentle, timeless story will delight anyone in need of a sprig of inspiration. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition."

The idealist in me also LOVES books by Sharon Lovejoy. I honestly could not pick out just one of her books as a favorite, although I have pictured one here. This is the book that first inspired me into thinking I could teach young people the love of gardening and eating fresh (real) food with my little one acre plot. It is also the book that inspired me into wanting to see our school lunch programs begin to use locally grown garden produce. Although I personally have not taken action into any serious movement of this sort, I do agree with the efforts of a few I have read about that have. My bent will be different though... I'm a hands on kinda person and I want to give others a chance to play in the dirt or in the kitchen.

As I think warm thoughts about my summer and begin to generate internal motivation for the upcoming planting season I am reminded that my son whose culinary skills have been featured many times on this blog will be home for the summer before going off to the next year of school and although dirty work is not his favorite thing to do, he has always enjoyed having an important role in entertaining others. (He has also decided he would like to switch from computer technology to something with a music emphasis, even though he likes working with computers he says he knows as much as he wants to know about this subject come the end of this semester.) Even people with disabilities can be useful and find great joy in the garden.

There is a new link at the bottom of my sidebar that can help you find a garden blog near you or if you have one and you would like your dot placed on the map, check it out!


Midwest Vegan said...

Love the snowy yard -- is that your yard?

This is my first year attempting a garden and I can't wait. I'm not quite sure what I'm doing so I'll have to check out your garden blog links.

Gluten FreeVegan said...

So this morning I woke up to find out it went down into the upper 40's last night and won't be getting past the low 60's today - a real cold front for South Florida....I as thinking about comfort food. Then i saw your picture! BRRR! You must love it there (or love someone there) very much! I don't feel so bad anymore. As a matter of fact I will get my butt up and go outside and be grateful for this cloudy and COOL South Florida day.

erica said...

Living food- yesyesyes! My doc gave me the OK to gradually get to 50% raw, so here I go! When I think about how some days I don't eat a single piece of living food... it seems really weird, to tell the truth.

I was going to start on my garden this weekend, as it was supposed to be 50 and sunny, but it's raining. That picture looks so bleak and cold, but still nicely asthetic.

Dori said...

Hi Midwest Vegan, this picture is not of my yard, but close to it and a view from it.

Gluten free vegan, glad you stopped by and could be cheered up about your chilly day. Love it here? Hard to while being outside, but today inside is pretty nice.

Erica, yes living food will make all much better. :) glad your doc gave the okay... It rains alot in your area doesn't it?

theONLYtania said...

Dori! It's so funny.. I just read your comment on Leslie's Behind the Apron.. I kind of had you pegged as short! Haha. You're way taller than I thought.

madeinalaska said...

I happen to love this post.. It is very refreshing to think about making a change in a child’s life ... Then trying to do it.. God bless you and bravo!
You are forever an inspiration for me...Dori.
Take care,

Dori said...

Julee, glad you stopped by. I enjoyed you cook behind the apron post.

Tania, yes... oddly enough I got the tallness genes in my family measuring in a 5' 7 1/2" while my mom and sisters are barely over 5'. even my MIL is short like that to.

Ruthie said...

Dori --

Thank you for stopping by my blog :) I recently posted a very similar post about taking the emphasis of my blog (and my life) away from food, food, food, and pushing myself to work more for the issues I feel are bigger and longer lasting (lightening my footstep on the earth). Of course, I will still always love food, and always have food to post about, but the majority of the meals in my house are no longer blog worthy, imho! :)

I love gardening, incredibly, impassionately, and obsessively. This is odd for someone who's only had a limited gardening experience. This year, though, I've applied for a community garden plot, so we'll see! :)

Peace, Dori, and nice to meet you.

Dori said...

So glad you stopped by ruthie. Good luck with the community garden plot.

Melody said...

Dori, a summer gardening/food camp.. what an amazing idea! You are so idealistic and I have no doubt that you could pull that off.

laura jesser said...

Dori, I think that would be an incredible thing to do. If young people get interested in gardening and "living" food and such, then what will they be passionate about as they get older? That would be such a wonderful thing to do... Your Iowa winter looks cold, but beautiful. I'd love to see it sometime (but not make my home there).

bazu said...

All I can say is WOW, Dori. Starting a gardening program for kids sounds so inspiring, and you are so right that it will give them a real foundation and direction in life. And gardening is just so fun! If you choose to undertake this project, good luck, and I hope you'll post the progress on this blog so we can come along and learn from your journey too.

Thanks to your post, I really want the winter to be over now!

Dori said...

Thanks for the encouragement Melody. It would also be alot of time planning, coordinating, and promoting the final event. Good luck to you in your business endeavor also.

You're right Laura, to share your passion is to keep it alive for the next generation.

Bazu, I would definitely share my experiences ... I'm now a part of the blog-eration. I enjoy reading other blogs and reading the comments people leave here too :)

Nikki said...

Dori, I think your intentions are wonderful. I only wish I could find someone that would help me learn how to garden! I can't keep houseplants, so I've always told people I have a gangrene thumb, but I have always wanted to grow some of my own food.

Dori said...

Hey nikki, if you were close to me I'd garden with you. You could start small and try a tomato in a pot if you desired. Stop at a local garden store and see what they would reccommend.

Village Mama said...

What a beautiful photo of Iowa in winter.

Thank you for sharing your thoughtful and loving ideas on food, inspiring books and working for change.

Thank you for reading my blog. I'm enjoying my break from posting on my blog. I'm using it for many heart warming projects, meals and hugs.

Vanessa said...

Dori - YES, YES, YES!
You need to follow your heart. I'm sure it seems really daunting but you'll find people to help you make it work. It sounds like an amazing idea and your passion would help you along and inspire so many others. Maybe there are other business models to look at? I've heard of Alice Waters doing something with children and gardening...
Your photo is so beautiful and peaceful and reminds me of growing up in the Midwest and how lucky I was to have a mom to give me chores (I promise I didn't think that at the time!) and feed me well. Best of luck - please keep me posted!