It was finally time and I felt ready to watch the movie that has been on my NetFlix list for months, yet never made it to my doorstep (because I kept pushing it down the list). Food, Inc.
You know how it goes with difficult information, you know you “should” pay attention and watch, but somehow you are just not ready. Well that was me. For years I have been eating from local, sustainable and organic sources, but not every meal. I mean I still go out to restaurants and I normally don’t ask the establishment where they shop. So inadvertently, I’m sure that I am still consuming the “bad” kind of food. I love farmer's markets, like this one in Carlisle Mass, but I still haven't made shopping at them a regular practice. Time to wake up!
Being winter, this is the time when The Garden Continuum is focused on a new season and our new opportunities. For the past several years that focus has been on how to continue to move toward organic practices, how to reduce our carbon footprint, and how to empower our clients to start and maintain small vegetable plots or even planters. Each year we make slow progress, sometimes being encouraged by a success and sadly often discouraged that we can’t effect more change more quickly. Then I am reminded of the Medfield Victory Garden and think - AH the children - there's a place to start!
After seeing this movie, I realized that every little success is movement in the right direction. It is remarkable how much the TGC clientele has shifted over the 25 years of practice. More and more homes boast vegetable gardens and a surprising number are keeping bees or raising laying hens. Seeing this shift only encourages our work to support homeowners in growing their own food.
Three years ago I had a fabulous vegetable garden with a varied and productive harvest. Two years ago my garden was decimated by a seemingly endless supply of woodchucks. Last year, feeling like a bit of a farming failure, I moved to a container vegetable garden and put my 1,800 square foot garden into cover crop cultivation. The idea was that the woodchucks would see there was nothing fabulous to eat and I would take a year to restore the soil.
This year will be the year of the fence installation and another year of cover crop. The year of restoration and learning has been useful. I am no longer so discouraged. The veggies will be in planters again, which is kind of fun actually. I had a bumper potato crop and what a kick to be cooking with MY potatoes just dug up and washed. Succulent and flavorful is an understatement! I am learning how to grow and cultivate new crops; techniques I will take to my garden in 2012. AND we adopted a dog as a natural way to help deter woodchucks (if anyone has any other woodchuck deterring tips…please share!)
As a professional and home gardener, I can offer encouragement to anyone that has watched FoodInc by reiterating what they say toward the end of the film; we as consumers have great power. Every time we make a purchase we are casting our vote. If you buy seeds to start your first garden, buy organic compost, rent a rototiller, buy a back yard garden book, shop at a farmers market or hire a garden coach, or work with an organic landscape firm, you are voting for healthy choices and that makes a difference. Remember, a single tomato plant will change your perception and taste for tomatoes. It is a small and important step on the path to health and well-being.
The Garden Continuum is continuing to focus our services in 2011 toward helping as many clients as are interested to start their own vegetable plot or container garden. We believe that this focus, in conjunction with encouraging sustainable landscape practices for the ornamental aspect of each client’s property, ensures that The Garden Continuum continues to make a positive environmental impact on our planet.