Doing a Little Something for Ourselves

| 3/15/2011 5:59:38 AM

Tags: visualization, sustainability, gardens, gardening, homesteads, homesteading, Mother Earth News, Bryan Welch,

Fruit of the Garden Climb Over the Obstacles 

Most people talking about protecting the environment have trained their attention on what they perceive as looming disasters. As the evidence of habitat destruction mounts, the voices become more strident, “We have to stop living this way!”

The volume and urgency of these warnings make it more and more difficult to discuss positive outcomes. Imagining a positive vision of the future strikes the alarmed mind as a trivial distraction.

We learned a long time ago that we couldn’t attract an audience for our magazines unless we gave our readers tools they could use to improve the world personally. A backyard organic garden is the perfect symbol of positive vision and personal commitment. The gardener visualizes the short-term satisfaction of tending a lovely and productive little piece of the earth, and in the process preserves resources for humanity’s future. The gardens we describe in the pages of MOTHER EARTH NEWS make the world more productive and beautiful today, while they preserve resources and help sustain the world for the next generation. Our audiences come to us for ingenuity, creativity, inspiration and beauty: elements that enhance in their lives. We describe ways people can live more sustainably through personal initiative.

Our readers get a kick out of brewing homemade beer and wine. They generate their own power using the sun, the wind, and homegrown ingenuity. We think they make some pretty important positive contributions in the world. It’s obvious that they have a lot of fun.

In the same way that MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have imagined, then realized, their gardens and homesteads, I believe we can imagine on a larger scale. We should picture our communal home, the planet, as we want it to be. We can visualize a global garden, as it were, that reflects human aspiration and the human aesthetic, complete with the profusion of life God put here.

kathy oconnor
2/13/2013 10:24:40 PM

Febuary, 2 feet of snow... seed catalogs, flowers herbs, vegetables, oh my I can't wait to touch that soil and breath life into all growing things.

4/29/2011 4:24:06 PM

I live in a apartment with eastern exposure . I have one bed which is 9X3 where I have planted several varieties of lettuce, radish, leeks, collards and kale. I have had several meals just from the thinnings of the lettuce so far. Along the wall, which gets about 7 hours of sunlight , I have planted tomatoes and squash with basil in between. I also use pots for cilantro, and more basil. Also have a rosemary plant in the 9X3 plot. Next year I shall plant the greens along the wall and the squash and tomatoes in the plot where I have the greens growing, as it gets more sun. I have a row of ac units which is quite ugly to look at and have covered about three feet far from the units with newspaper, black weed liner and mulch. I will be planting 3 Silver Queen okra plants there. Not only will they hide the units, they will also provide shade for them in our hot Texas summers and give me more than enough okra . You really dont need a large space or acres to plant a garden like I used to when I had a family to feed.

lisa lezniak
4/20/2011 6:37:56 AM

It's a beautiful thing to become more self sustaining and with the state of our economy, I agree that it's the smart thing to do. My husband and I own a city townhouse with a relatively small backyard which our family fondly refers to as our "urban farm". Our backyard has 600 sq. ft. of raised bed organic veggie/strawberry gardens which produced over 1,800 lbs of edible produce last year. This year we have added our front yard as a growing area planting 2 pear trees, 1 apple tree, 1 cherry tree, red raspberries and blackberries. We also have a nice sized herb garden running alongside the entry sidewalk to our home and the other side of the walk is lined with a row of blueberry bushes. Last week we purchased 6 baby chickens for egg laying and are in the process of building the “girls” a coop. Like Marla, we also make all of our own cleaners and laundry, dish and hand soaps. Self sustainment is FUN and it reduces consumerism! It's a joy to watch family and friends beginning to grasp the movement of self sustainment on their own level. We have proven that even if you only have a small “farming area” such as a city backyard, you can still have a dramatic impact on your own bottom line. Personal choices make it truly possible. Commit to it and it will be very rewarding. Happy "Farming"! Now if I just had room for a dairy cow! : )

4/2/2011 8:49:44 PM

ding about what other "green" things people are doing that , when combined , are amounting to a gentle revolution--We have just an acre but grow berry bushes, chickens, vegetables and fruit trees. We are planning a fish pond(for edible fish) and a grain patch next year. We don't use insecticides and I have been making all our cleaning solutions, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and shampoo&conditioner for the last two years. There are plenty of websites to teach how to do these things, and that's mostly where I have learned them--the computer. The other day my cousin was saying she was proud that I am "going green" and I told her the truth --I am not going green so much as I am trying to save money. It is much more economical in the long run to do the right , healthy thing than to go for short-term solutions. It is our plan to incorporate beehives and solar panels in the future--Again, going the "green " route is going to be saving us money. Personal satifaction and a healthier life are side effects.

sylvia wulf
4/1/2011 9:42:16 AM

My thinking exactly! It is so easy to get overwhelmed by all the bad news we hear and read constantly :-( To avoid becoming depressed and hopeless I follow the 'think globally, act locally' credo ;-) My property is small - barely an acre, and because it is commercial - a tiny Catskills motel - there are different rules for what I am allowed to do. No fowl - health regulations are designed to prevent guests from possibly catching salmonella or other disease. Sheep, goats or rabbits would have to be surrounded by an electrified fence, as would any bee hives, as we are in coyote and bear country. I compromised by keeping my entire property as green and organic as possible, inside and out. No pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, no harsh cleaning products or toxic aromatics anywhere! When I bought the place the property was mostly flat boring lawn with 6 severely neglected apple trees. Slowly I have fed the apple trees back to productivity. Much of the former grass is now raised beds or been over-seeded with thyme, chamomile and clover. My veggie and herb gardens grow a little every year, as does the flower garden in raised beds I installed for the pleasure of my guests. We are also in ruby throat hummingbird territory, so we have over 30 feeders in season, ensuring that every guest from June to September gets to see these flying jewels during their stay ;-) One tiny motel doing the Green thing may not save the world, but it can't hurt, and it saves my sanity ;-)

3/15/2011 1:28:03 PM

As Emma Goldman said "If I can't dance at your revolution, I'm not coming." One reason the protests in Wisconsin have grown so much (beyond the stunning over-reach by the governor) is that they're fun to attend! The people are peaceful and energized, the signs are creative and often hilarious.

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