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would you share your yard with me?

August 9, 2010

As the notion of moving away from our little plot of earth becomes more real with every day my husband is on the job market (thanking God there is one this year), I feel how much growing vegetables has changed me, what we eat, and how I live and want to live always. With perhaps just one more year left here, I must prepare to let go. But this has not been a phase. Willingly or sadly, I will have to leave a parcel, a view, spring water, and stars, but I can’t set aside the need to be involved with our own food: to know where it comes from, what will be coming in and when it peters out, and to plan for more in sequence. There is so much joy in that, a basket full of a few nights’ dinners, a sun-warmed berry in the mouth.

I left two cities that can’t sustain themselves. With the exception of one family farm that holds on as a novelty u-pick orchard, everything edible is shipped by truck, train, or plane into Las Vegas. El Paso has the irrigated Rio Grande valley, but unless you plan to live on cotton, pecans, and hot peppers, it’s a food desert and a geographic one. Water restrictions in both places limit what you can grow in your backyard, though the sunshine begs for a crop. My family and my heart are in the desert, and it kills me to say it, but I don’t think I could live there again. The pangs from a pained conscience and missing my own fresh food would drive me away.

I believe there are places humans really shouldn’t be, but what is the cost of losing a home place, and where would the millions go anyway?

So place is on the brain. But job hunters may not be choosers. What if what we’re offered is in a big paved-over city? Apartment-dwelling can be done, allotments and community gardens might be had. People all over the world do it, and we could again, too.

The concept of yard sharing heartens me, as I consider the unknown.

Yard sharing is a way to connect people who love to garden, people who love healthy fresh food and people who have yards! Often people who have yards have little time time for a vegetable garden. And sometimes gardeners have trouble finding soil to garden in because they rent an apartment! Sometimes older people lack stamina and are socially isolated, finding younger people to partner in growing food together works wonderfully for all.

I can see it working, and I can see it being a real big pain in the ass, like dealing with humans often is. New to a town, heart on my sleeve, chard on my mind, I can envision joining a garden family of sorts, a more connected version of community gardens past. But would I be the one to invite? Divide up my precious lot and share? Would you? What’s to stop us from doing it now? Slaterville doesn’t lack for the socially isolated, the old, the inexperienced. If I love what a 40×8′ plot has done for two people’s bodies, minds, and souls, why not magnify it? For one, it’s not my question alone (nor have I asked, this being a seat of the pants sort of post), and two, well I’m not sure the part of me that loves garden-as-sanctuary wants to invite more people in (and who wants to share with a selfish chick like that?).

But the garden could sustain it, absolutely. It’s a place I believe humans really should be.

Musings aside, the Hyperlocavore site is inspirational. Check it out. Let me know what you think.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    August 9, 2010 10:31 pm

    check out this craziness:

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/05/ff_domestic_terraforming/all/1

    Just saying, you’ll very likely find a way… hope all unfolds with bright promise.

    • August 9, 2010 10:48 pm

      whoa, terraforming. Dominique Browning. Skate pants. “…the ruthless killing field that is a garden”! Thanks, Jenny!

  2. August 10, 2010 10:32 am

    Your thoughts on sustainable cities itrigue me. The notion was on my mind the whole time I was on the island of Manhattan as I was thinking every thing has to be brought in to support such a vast construction. But Manhattan is not unique, and I feel that most communities in our country have become so dependent on far away farms and factories. I also thought about it visiting the Outer Banks of NC earlier this summer. On a shifting sandbar squeezed by the Atlantic and the sound, are thousands and thousands of houses all needing fresh water, brought up from deep underground. How many pools can be filled, toilets flushed and dishwasher run until the resoruce is comprimised.

    Keep your viewers posted as to where you may end up.

    • August 13, 2010 9:10 pm

      Yes. Imagine a city of hotels in Vegas, all flushing that Colorado river water. At least in Manhattan and the boroughs, people know and use CSAs and green markets, and I think this is a truly valued resource there, and a boon to rural economies. We all can’t go back to being farmers, but I’d like to rely far far less upon the factories. We will keep y’all posted.

  3. August 13, 2010 2:25 pm

    you sure are living with lots of uncertainty here and I can relate to it as I have been in similar job search times. peace.

    • August 13, 2010 9:06 pm

      Thanks, Wayne. It’s a very exciting unknown, and we’ll land on our feet, perhaps on some fertile ground.

  4. August 24, 2010 8:06 pm

    I know a new mom who has done exactly this with her yard and veg garden and it sounds like it works beautifully for her (she actually gets more veg with less work). I however, am totally that selfish chick you mentioned. I would like to think that I could share my sanctuary if the right person came calling (perhaps someone who can crack me up with Little Edie impressions…) I hope Providence is still a contender city – you’d love it in little Rhody: there are more farms and community gardens than you can shake a stick at and no desert at all – aside from August.

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