In the Willamette Valley, my grandfather grafted pippen and other apple varieties in his small orchard. By himself. He’d probably scratch his head at the notion that hundreds of city folks would turn up in front of San Francisco’s city hall one Saturday to plant a 10,000 foot victory garden. A temporary one at that. Fancy this, the garden is “designed” and “curated.” And reporters are actually covering this once mundane task – planting a garden. Yet we’re trying to learn lessons from past generations. Like getting closer to the vegetables we eat. And eating slower. Making and eating a meal together.
So something as simple as planting a garden feels a fun community gathering. Of course, we didn’t push dirt this Saturday for nothing. On Labor Day weekend (gives new meaning to that holiday, eh?) we gather again for more. There will be organic food tasting, school outings, talks and live music. Grandpa, are you smiling down on us?
In past times when we were at war, victory gardens were planted in back yards and vacant lots. Now they are also popping up in front yards, on rooftops, at schools and other urban spots. People yearn to be close to the earth but not enough to live further out. And they like the taste of just-picked food – and like to meet other localvores.
Up in Napa, Silicon Valley magnates move into country mansions and hire locals to plant and care for their grape vines or olive trees. They also outsource the production the wine or olive oil, which is then bottled, with their personal brand name on the label. Those of us foodies who live lower on the income scale can hire a farmer. (Grandpa, are you laughing?)
Like Wendy Waters (another person on my blog roll), I think downtowns are becoming our new frontiers. So you have fallback options for local food. Visit your nearby farmers’ market, try a farm direct program or find local harvests.