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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Subversive Plot - by Roger Doiron

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Welcome to my neighborhood and my not-so-private fantasy.
The green rectangle represents current kitchen gardens (i.e. mine), the red rectangles future ones (i.e. my neighbors'). I'm going to have to ask for your utmost discretion because my neighbors don't know yet that they will be planting these food gardens.
My subversive plot to win them over is to use my subversive plot, all 1000 square feet of it. Fear not: it will be a peaceful neighborhood revolution based on what I call "Sun Gold Diplomacy". My thinking is that once they get a taste of my candy-sweet ?Sun Gold? cherry tomatoes and see me harvesting fresh organic greens (the same ones they're paying $5-$7 a pound for at the store), they'll start looking at their yards in a fresh way.
If you take into account the historically low level of home food production and historically long distance the average mouthful of food travels from field to fork in the US (i.e. 1500-2000 miles), I think it is accurate to say that Americans have never been farther removed from the origins of their food than we are today. It has reached a point where most eaters don?t have a clue about where food comes from, who produces it, how and when. Watermelon in January? Yes, please! Strawberries in the early spring? Why not?
Well here?s one reason why not: it takes 400 calories of fossil fuels to transport a single 5 calorie strawberry from California to East Coast supermarkets. With cheap oil running out and global temperatures reaching historic highs, we can?t afford our long-distance love affair with food much longer, at least not without serious consequences. Never mind that our -395 calorie strawberry is most likely a water-gorged, flavorless specimen that was produced with methyl bromide (an ozone-depleting pesticide) and picked by people who are not paid a living wage.


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