“Sustainable” is not a good goal. If we manage to sustain what we have now, it will destroy our world very quickly, and fail to repair damage. Raising food is just a little step toward regeneration. Sunshine, air, birdsong, germs, life and death. Directly experiencing the reality of what we need to survive is gravely important to sanity. That’s the thing: What is good for the earth is good for you too!
I garden because it reminds me of my Dad and cool evenings growing up in Phoenix, pulling carrots or picking strawberries from his garden. A year and a half ago, after my mother died unexpectedly, my father planted a garden as a Valentine’s gift for me at my Tucson home. It was my way of staying connected to him, to the earth, and to remember that things keep growing.
Watching and helping my food grow from start to finish always makes me feel more connected to it. The plants have identities and stories, which produces a whole new relationship between me and my food beyond it simply being an end product to buy and eat.
It’s about honoring the connection to our home, to each other, to our elders’ legacy, to the desert sky, and to the stories living in the barrio soil.
Logan Dirtyverbs Phillips and Spring Rain
When I was a graduate student, I did a research on a religious cult and realized that many current social problems were caused by desires for instant gratification in society. Today many of us have forgotten the importance of process. It is easy to buy vegetables and fruits at stores and farmers’ markets, but for me it is important to grow some of our food even though I sometimes kill the plants I grow. And I try to teach that value to my child.
I love plants. I love to watch them grow, to look at seeds as they sprout and get amazed as they change on a day-by-day basis. I like to grow food because food is more than just the end result for me. It’s how the melon grows from a little fuzzy bud to a big sweet smelling fruit.
Food from the store generally has a big carbon footprint—it takes a lot of fossil fuel to grow, transport, and store food in the conventional system. But when I grow food myself, it takes much less energy, and I also get to know everything that happened to it, from seed to table.
For me, growing is a process that can involve many people. This is one of the main reasons why I try to grow and not buy as much as possible. Whether I’m working on growing with my family or others, I feel it has the power to bring people closer together. For the last two years I have been fortunate enough to grow at Las Milpitas urban community farm and explore growing with a diverse group of people.