Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

I've been thinking about earth day all day today. Most of the day yesterday and the day before as well. Honestly, the earth has been on my mind quite a bit for the past months (and for some time before that as well).

To celebrate earth day today I decided I wanted to think about how I'm going to be reducing my footprint by eating more locally ... right outside my back door in fact. Today's pictures reflect the state of our garden this week. Not looking too shabby, I think.

Just take a look at these lovely tomatoes! Gotta love such healthy looking plants in April.

Our other veggies have that fresh green, spring color going for them as well.

I can hardly wait to pluck a big salad out of that bed!

Even our brand new, just a few months old peach/nectarine 4-fer has set fruit. We had to take a picture of that (right before we pulled the fruit off -- you aren't supposed to let them grow fruit the first year or two but rather put all that energy into root, leaf, and trunk development).

Even our avacado tree has put on a blush of new leaves. Doesn't she look pretty?

Just walking though our little backyard farm makes me very happy. It helps me feel like I can make a small amount of difference right here at home.

I've been finding inspiration all over the place recently. Most of that inspiration, from books. I've read some real winners! Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (very inspirational), In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, All New Square Foot Gardening (a great how to do it gardening guide for bio-intensive gardening), and Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables to name a few. I'm so inspired to grow lots of produce and then can and store it all away. I don't think Southern California is cold enough to actually cellar food though. I guess the trade off is I can grow great tomatoes in April (and probably grow other plants in December and January).

While I haven't yet committed to any "buy nothing" pacts yet, I've made a lot of effort to reduce my purchases and feel like that's gone very well. I've been using public libraries alot (!!) and feeling very content with that option.

I even thought about trying to use public transit to get to work today, but then thought better of it (my last two tries it took 1 1/2 hours and 1 hour 45 minutes respectively to travel the meager 4 miles ... I could probably walk faster). This is one of my future goals though.

I think today I've been most inspired by a post over at No Impact Man. He talks about the futility that we all sometimes feel and the wondering we do about whether we can make a difference, whether or not things can be changed overall. He says:

"So sometimes, the question of whether we can make a difference or not may be the wrong question. I think another line of inquiry might just as productively go like this: Do I want to be the kind of person who tries or the kind of person who doesn't?

It took me 42 years to realize it, but I want to be like Mayer Vishner. I want to be the kind of person who tries. Whether Michael Pollan is 100% right or 50% or 10% right, when the game is over, I want to be one of the people who tried. Whether the world is saved or not, whether I'm still alive to see it or not, I want to be able to say I tried."

I think this really hit home for me. Sometimes I'm a little too "half empty" for my own good (and certainly for the good of others). I know I don't want to say I didn't try though. So that's where I'll be. I'll at least be able to say I tried. Tried to make the world a better place, in lots of ways. My job now is to keep finding all those ways and to make the list of ways I tried a bit longer.

Enjoy your earth day and I hope it's a day of reflection and inspiration for you as well.


Queen of the froggers said...

Please could you come and do my garden? I am in awe of yours, fab!

Lola and Ava said...

Oh man! I'm living through your blog this season. I just read a post about the Square Foot Gardner. Is this the first year you've done it? I'm so curious.

peitseoga said...

your garden looks great! i think i must get some raised beds or containers for mine this year!
4 miles is maybe a bit far for walking. it takes me about 20-30 min to walk the 1 mile to the train station (leasurely). but what about cycling? how hilly is your area? there are some comfy 'city bikes' out there now, suitable for office clothes and baskets of shopping etc. i'm from a very flat area and we used to cycle everywhere, my parents (in their late fifties) still cycle in their leisure time, and it's not a sporty thing, they have holland bikes, similar to city bikes, so no undignified hunching with your bum up in the air.

whitknits said...

Your garden looks fantastic! We're planning on putting in a raised-bed veggie garden next year, so it's really exciting to see yours turning out so well. Makes me optimistic!

Em said...

I am so very jealous of your garden (and your climate!) Living on the 23rd floor of a dense urban centre just doesn't give me that kind of harvest -- but I'm at least going to try for some herbs this year!

I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking about food/environment issues -- I've been spending a lot of time lately finding blogs like No Impact Man and trying to absorb ideas to put to practice.

amanda said...

we've started planting, too. this weekend we're going to get cucumbers and tomatoes - I can't wait!!!