What do Tom Cruise, Angelina, Brittany, and Tiger Woods have to do with Food Gardening? Well...
Last week, I read a fascinating article in Newsweek entitled, "Celebrity: the Greatest Show on Earth." The interesting part is the author's argument that "celebrity"-- as a form of art, not the celebrities themselves, per say-- provides the national community with something to rally around, talk about, and relate with. In the midst of a social environ where politics are taboo and TV, movies and book readership are not as ubiquitous as they once were, "celebrity" provides narratives around which we can find common "experience."
It's an interesting argument, and it seems to ring true with what I see as I run around in overalls. As the author writes, "Celebrity is one of the few things that still crosses all lines. As disparate and stratified as Americans are, practically all of them seem to share an intense engagement, or at the very least an acquaintance, with the sagas of Jon and Kate or Brad and Angelina... which is oddly comforting. These are American's modern denominators, and...they give us something we can all talk about." Indeed, just this past week I overheard my father chatting about Tiger Woods with strangers on a ferry down in S. Florida, and my folks are hardly the type to follow the tabloids. Celebrity is everywhere.
So, what's this got to do with Food Gardening?
Here are the connections. For starters, over the past several months here in N Florida, I've found that food gardening, home canning, good cooking, fruit trees, stories of our parent's and grand-parents' farms, etc are already common denominators that give us something we can talk about. From the housing projects to Killarn Lakes, I hear talk about collard greens and cornbread. Chatting with liberal and conservative folks alike, I hear stories about the value of growing our own food.
The second connection is my hope for the new year. My wish is that food gardening will become even moreso our shared conversation and common experience, something to rally around, talk about, and relate with. I want raising and sharing food to be as widespread and common as is celebrity. When people stand around awkwardly at parties or wonder what to say to new people they meet, I want folks to say things like, "Did you hear more people are gardening this year than ever before in American history?" and "Really? I started a vegetable garden the other day," and "That's awesome. Yep, my grandmother has a really big garden..."
So this is my hope for 2010: that more people than ever before in American History will grow their own food and share it. And we're off to a good start. When the comics start advocating the food movement, you know this stuff is going mainstream.
How about a new food garden in 2010?