Kids are Gardening

Every morning when I turn on my computer it opens to a news page.  Most of the time that page is screaming at me about whatever was the worst thing that happened on earth in the previous 24 hours (or at least the most sensational). If the only data we had to go on was the headlines, it would be reasonable for us to conclude that violence and disaster are the norm and the world is spiraling downward.

The reality, of course, is much different.  For every act of sensational violence there are countless acts of kindness and compassion.  For every plane crash there are hundreds of thousands of safe flights.  For every tragic death there are millions of healthy lives.  Et cetera. When we see the headlines announcing the latest disaster or sensational violence maybe we all need to stop and remember that the reason those things are considered newsworthy is because they are so rare.

Arguably the biggest danger humanity faces right now is environmental degradation and the consequences of an unsustainable way of life.  But even on that front I see plenty of reasons to be encouraged, and they’re not making headlines.  There is an increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable living and increasing acceptance of less consumptive lifestyles.  The food movement that has arisen in opposition to industrial agriculture is strong and getting stronger.  People are putting chicken coops in their back yards. They’re starting to get more of their food from local farmers markets and they’re paying attention to how that food was produced.

I’m especially encouraged by the emphasis on sustainability in schools now. At many schools (and at many homes) kids are learning to garden.  I expect they’re not going to follow the path our generation took, which has buried our society in debt and illness.

I believe that the seeds that are being planted now–seeds like school gardens–will come to maturity in today’s young people and they will begin to usher in the next phase of human existence, which will be kinder, more beautiful and more compassionate than any which has preceded it.

Terrible things will happen on earth today.  Among those terrible things will be one terrible thing that becomes tomorrow’s lead story on the news.

Meanwhile, kids are gardening.

 

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24 comments on “Kids are Gardening

  1. Joanna says:

    Amen to that! After spending some time today debating over the pros and cons or not of having young men and women in leadership – youthful zeal vs “wisdom” I am so pleased to read what you have written. I was saying that the older generation may need to move aside and support the next generation to make better choices than our generation has made and as far as I am concerned the quicker the better. I think it is nonsense to say that our generation has a great deal of wisdom, because I don’t see that, to be honest, unless we have genuinely learnt from our mistakes. I see a lot of selfish behaviour and a striving to keep things the way they are and so my prayer is that the younger generation grow in the wisdom our generation seem to have forgotten.

    Think I had better get down off my soapbox now and finish the paper I am supposed to be writing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I’d like to think we do have some good things to offer the younger generation other than criticism, our debts and the other consequences of our over-consumption.

      Almost daily I’m impressed by something a young person is doing and by the promise the younger generation is showing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. BeeHappee says:

    Nice post, Bill, thank you. 🙂 My little ones are planting something every day in pots in middle January here. . Or sprouting in jars. : )

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Laurie Graves says:

    Nice post and so true! And seeing what is good in the world does not mean we have to ignore what is bad. As for young farmers…my husband and I get most of our vegetables from a very young man—Farmer Kev. He does not come from a farming family, but the farming bug bit him when he was a teenager, and now that he is in his early twenties, he is farming full time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Good point Laurie. I certainly didn’t mean to suggest we ignore the world’s problems. In fact, I think it’s important that folks do what they can to help make them better. But it is easy, it seems to me, to become so focused on problems and disasters that we lose sight of the prevailing goodness and beauty. We ought to shine a little light on the goodness, instead of only putting the spotlight on sensational tragedies.

      There are lots of young people choosing lives like Farmer Kev’s, rather than chasing the materialistic consumeristic life our culture pushes us toward. May their tribe increase.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeff says:

    Some time ago, I decided to unsubscribe from a lot of blogs because all they had to offer was what I took to calling The Daily Atrocity. I’m enjoying life more now. I didn’t know about the Charlie Hebdo incident until two days after it happened, for example. Our lives don’t improve by knowing about The Daily Atrocity, particularly since there is nothing we can do about them. Going “off-grid” from the Information Highway does have its advantages!

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    • Bill says:

      I hear ya Jeff. I had to block a bunch of people from my facebook news feed because they were sending out a steady stream of angry posts, usually about politics. I’m sad for people who live with that much anger in their lives, but I don’t want to read about it every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I’ve mentioned before that I do not watch the news local or international. My news comes from conversations with friends and family. I don’t need the bombardment of watching disastrous news all day long on the news channels. Is it any wonder that people have trouble sleeping at night after being negatively stimulated all day. It’s so true that the news only reports negative news and rarely positive.

    There’s an organization in my city that is encouraging community gardens with some being on school property. Most of the early community gardens were on church properties. The trend to grow vegetables seems to be coming back in a different but effective way.

    Thanks for the link to the beginning farmer website. That will be on my favorite list to read and listen to the podcast each week. I believe he lives in Iowa which is a neighboring state to the east of Nebraska. From the short time I listened to the latest podcast it seems to be one well worth my time to regularly glean information from.

    Have a great positive news day.

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    • Bill says:

      When I was out doing my chores this morning, after posting this, I realized that when I was giving examples of things people are doing to make the world better, I should have mentioned that there are people planting gardens on abandoned city lots. 🙂

      I enjoy that podcast. Another one you might like is Growing Farms/Farm Marketing Solutions, but it tends to focus on the business side of small farming.

      Like

  6. I agree that the trend for gardens in schools over the last several years has been encouraging. In our local district, all schools have been striving for zero wast – in the high school for example, every hallway has a line of bins – soft plastic, hard plastic, foil, drink containers, paper, and a bin for compost. There is also a garbage can, but it’s the smallest receptacle in the row. Every hall. The compost is the most challenging to stay on top of, since it is handled by students, but they persist to try and find ways to make it work.

    I used to be mesmerised by the news page when I turned on my computer. Horrified, yet absorbed. I finally changed my homepage to a search engine. We don’t have cable TV nor a newspaper, but hubby listens to the radio in the car, and I work at a library, so we are not isolated from hearing about world events, but able to not be dominated by them as we once were.

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    • Bill says:

      I love seeing the emphasis on gardening and sustainability in schools now. It’s happening at the collegiate level too. A friend’s son just started at the University of Florida and Will Allen spoke at their opening convocation. We have a friend who is an English professor at our local university and she has her students reading Zero Impact Man. Another friend teaches high school nearby and her students are reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma. There are lots of colleges and seminaries now that have community gardens and their own farmers markets. Young people today are coming up with an ethic that will serve their generation well I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A deeply beautiful post. Thank you!
    xo,
    Kathryn

    Like

  8. EllaDee says:

    The G.O.’s grand-daughter spent a week or so around Christmas with us at our house in the country. She immediately wanted to know did we still have tomatoes in our garden (actually our neighbours’) and could she have an orange off the tree. At their home they have a vege garden & chickens but more to ‘Better Homes & Gardens’ lifestyle effect than from food advocacy. After successive visits to the shops and my ongoing dialogue about good, fresh food she asked “why do you only buy local?”. This is stuff we need to share, to happily bang our drums about because if kids… people aren’t getting our message positively, loudly and clearly then they’ll only hear those other messages. [As was evidenced by grand-daughter’s mother’s arrival bearing shopping bags of sugary drinks & junk food… I’m still angry 😦 ]

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Yes! You’re right I think about modeling our values and passing them along. The junk food industry will spend billions in advertising to capture children as customers and hook them on their poisons. One of the best things we can do is take a child into a garden or orchard and let her see where real food comes from and what it tastes like.

      I’m sure you enjoyed your time in the country. 🙂

      Like

    • Bill says:

      Consider the alternative–expecting the worst. I know some people who are so convinced that everything is going down the toilet (and that of course everything was so much better when they were young), that it seems they’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t happen!

      Like

      • avwalters says:

        I’m split on that. I don’t want to think that things are going to hell in a handbasket, surely not now that I’ve finally taken the leap to rebuild a life more in tune with my values. But–corporate money is an erosive influence. Consider the article I recently shared regarding Big Ag non-compliance with organic rules, and buyouts in the big name organic labels. When I comment in public forums (which I do regularly) my comments are immediately (within minutes) inundated with rebuttals–all clearly pre-drafted, in the can, and orchestrated. There are FaceBook “persons” whose only presence and purpose is to comment and rebut any discussion of the advantages of organic (and specifically to defend and advance GMO.) I don’t mean to be paranoid, but I’m not so convinced that the future is rosy. In the meantime, constant vigilance. We need to keep our voices out there and heard. We need to be the face of sustainable–proof that it is doable and worthwhile.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. rhondajean says:

    A beautiful and wise reminder, Bill. Cinnamon rolls are being baked somewhere in the world right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. df says:

    My son’s small home-based school makes regular visits to a small local farm where they help and see the latest happenings with the animals and in the fields. Most of us are so removed from anything to do with where our food comes from, and it’s made a mess of things in so many ways. I love knowing that my son eagerly asks questions and offers his experience of our own small scale gardening and our chickens.

    I continue to be amazed at your ability to post thoughtful items like these every day Bill, and it’s always heartening to see the community who come to comment and share.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      We have groups of school kids out here sometimes and we’ve been astonished sometimes at how little they know about where food comes from. As a culture we’re becoming dangerously disconnected from our food supply (and dangerously ignorant about it). School gardens help fight against that.

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad to know there are people who appreciate my ramblings. 🙂 I enjoy reading and responding to the comments as much as I do creating the original post.

      Like

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