Day 210: Illegal Gardens and Thanksgiving

Vegetables (Photo credit: Professor Bop)

There was a time in history when nearly every home had a vegetable garden. There was no such thing as convenience stores or supermarkets and people would travel for days to sell and buy goods at what, in today’s terms is essentially a Farmer’s Market. Modern day society however seems to frown on enthusiastic gardeners. There have been several instances recently of people who have chosen to use their front yard as a garden I instead of planting more conventional ground cover, i.e. grass. Just recently a man living in an Orlando suburb petitioned the city or the right to keep his vegetable garden, which covers the whole of his front yard, intact after they informed him it was a violation of city codes and told him to dig it up. 200+ signatures later the city of Orlando has decided to let the man keep his vegetables and is instead reconsidering their landscaping codes.

I live in a small town (we do not even has a proper post office) and the land on which my family lives is still zoned to keep livestock (with the exception of chickens and pigs) and a garden if we wish to plant one, which we have done on and off for several years. I have always known that a grocery store is only an intermediate step and that in the case of pork, chicken, beef etc. it once walked on two legs or four and may have even had a name. I was shocked to realize that some people of my generation have no idea that their food comes from a farm and that he did not just magically appear on the shelf or in the freezer case of their local grocery store.

We currently raise sheep and I have watched my mother butcher several, and even eaten some which we raised from birth. I know I had reached some kind of landmark in my growing up when I knowingly ate an animal I had given a name to and was not completely grossed out.

There are 6 billion people in the world plus or minus and the world’s professional farmers cannot feed us all, there are far too few of them as farming is no longer considered much of a profession by most people. I am not calling for the return of old-style traditional family farms so much as I help that more people will find within themselves the courage to be more self-reliant. This is a very rough guess but I think that even if the only thing a person could do is grow a portion of their own fruits and vegetables they would see an eventual drop in their grocery bill.

I have many issues with my parents but I will always thank them for explaining to me from the time I was small that food did not just appear by magic in the store, and unless I wished to become a vegetarian (which they would’ve supported had I chosen to), some animal somewhere would at some point die so that I could eat. At every meal I give thanks to the plants and animals whose existences ended so that mine might continue. I strive every day to put the energy that has been granted to me to some good use, even if it is nothing more than making a single person smile. Thanksgiving in the US is this week and this year has not been the easiest on my family. In spite of that we are still together, still making progress. Life and love is hard work and anyone who says different is probably selling something. You wake up every day with the choice to keep going through the mire of obstacles currently in your way, or you can choose to give up.

I have struggled my entire life with that choice and then just now beginning to see the light which I have been chasing. I won’t give up, not now. This year I am especially thankful to all the people who picked me up and dusted me off when I had emotionally fallen on my face. I have done that a lot in my lifetime and if these people had not been there I’m not sure where I’d be writing this moment but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am. I am not entirely happy with my living arrangements at this moment, but the times are changing and the important thing is that I’m happy with the biggest changes which name that I will never fear being alone again. In comparison to that everything else is small potatoes and will work itself out in due time.


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