I’m not thinking much about what Lionel eats yet. Neither is he. I’ll have to think about it eventually; Big Food wants to turn my son into a type two diabetic and I have to stop them.
But grow my own food?
Parenting advice from the council tells me I should “grow healthy and tasty food for your family”. If I don’t have a garden, it says I can get a “plot at a local community garden.”
Stupid hippies. Why do you move as close as you can to the city and then want to grow your own food? Cities import food. That’s one of the things that makes them cities.
That’s how I reacted. Truthfully, I probably don’t want to grow my own food because I’m too lazy. But I need to review all my beliefs and habits. I need to review them because one day my son will grow up and hold me accountable for everything; for the paths I opened up and closed off to him with every decision I made. I have to think things through.
“Why don’t we grow our own food, Pappa?”
“Because it’s stupid.”
That won’t do, so I’m asking seriously: can I contribute to my kid’s nutritional needs by growing my own food in the city?
The internet says you need about .07 or a hectare, about the size of a football field, to sustain adult. Working back from that figure, a plot in a community garden isn’t really going to make a contribution. And that’s if you’re an excellent gardener. I’m a shit gardener. I would probably end up killing a fellow community gardener with some sort of reaping tool in a fit of pique.
Does that get me out of it?
Not according to Yarra City’s community garden guidelines:
The City of Yarra recognises the importance of urban agriculture in supporting community sustainability, especially in times of changing climate and the myriad of associated issues such as food security due to diminishing oil supplies.
Food security. That’s a lot to pin on a community garden. If there’s anything to it, I guess I’m sort of morally obliged to participate.
Back to the internet, the greatest instrument of confirmation bias ever invented.
Bingo! Urban agriculture is stupid. Lots of knowledgeable bloggers are saying you can’t feed a city from within its borders and you probably shouldn’t try: the environmental benefits of dense urban housing far outweigh any that might be achieved from local food production. In short, don’t use valuable urban land for non-intensive purposes. If you have a back yard, then sure, grow some food, though maybe you shouldn’t have a backyard …
So we’re off the hook. We can use our time to swim instead of garden. In fact, we should build a block of flats on everyone else’s garden.
Ok, that would be an overreaction, but why can’t the council just say that gardening is healthy and fun, and even educational. It’s worth encouraging on those grounds alone. If it’s your thing, then you do it for the sheer delight of it, the joy of eating your own food, like fishing or making your own beer.
I’m not ranting against community efforts to address climate change and it’s impacts -I’m a shareholder in community solar project.
I also don’t want to be down on the City of Yarra council because their services are pretty good – in 2014/15 garbage collectors missed only 1.27 bins per 10,000 scheduled kerbside collections, the second best performance in the state – but I think saving the world is too big a burden for a community garden to bear.