I know I often think about what it would be like to see stands of maples, oaks, walnuts, and cherry trees where sprawling lawns sit. And other times I envision lawns surrounded by wildflower meadows where bees and butterflies dance. Or I see beds of rich loam with intermingled vegetables in rows arranged in beautiful arrangements with compost chambers, piles of leaves, and jumbled pile of hand tools.
Do you wonder what it would be like to be invited into that place if it isn't your property? Or what if the people who owned the garden asked you to eat some produce by just putting out there for you? Or what if you wanted to do it with your own lawn but weren't sure where to begin? Maybe all you want is a beautiful place that nurtures your spirit and gives you peace of mind and, you hope, a smile to others. A food commons. A beauty commons. A peaceful commons.
Today's guests are taking some of those ideas and feelings and bringing them to life. Dana Stuchul started something she calls Veggie Commons, "is to join together (as kids, teens, beginning farmers and gardeners, dwellers, and elders) in the cultivation, harvest, and enjoyment of wholesome, locally nurtured food. Utilyzing food, labor, land, and love, we endeavor to fortify our community, transforming lawnscapes into foodscapes." [Garden pictured at right.] Dana, like our previous guests Asher Miller of the Post Carbon Institute, Katherine Watt of Spring Creek Homesteading and formerly of the Transition Town Initiative, is something of radical re-localizer. There is great promise in meaningful work with the land, something our mechanized and digitized society has lost but can regain through work in the commons.
And maybe you want to take a crack at creating your beautiful space but aren't sure where to begin. Woody Wilson has started Home Grown Farms (Facebook page here), a company that designs, installs, and manages residential and company gardens in State College. Wilson says, "Home Grown Farms bridges the gap between where food is grown and where people consume it."
Both are grounded (pardon the pun) in a love of our place, love of the land, and the possibility of local resilience. Rather than fret and kvetch about sprawl, climate change, peak oil, and the destructive nature of our stuffing and starving food system, they have gotten their hands dirty. Quite literally, this is labor of love and labor for love.
Dana posted the words of Ivan Illich on the Veggie Commons blog a few days ago. He said,
As philosophers, we search below our feet because our generation has lost its grounding in both soil and virtue. By virtue, we mean that shape, order and direction of action informed by tradition, bounded by place, and qualified by choices made within the habitual reach of the actor; we mean practice mutually recognized as being good within a shared local culture that enhances the memories of a place.What is happening here with Dana and Woody? What if more of us recognized and nurtured our relationship with the soil to which all terrestrial life owes its existence?
So join us today on the Lion 90.7 fm. As always, feel free to call in (814) 895-9577 with comments and questions. You can also find us on Facebook where you can post articles and interact with other SN listeners and readers or join us on Twitter at SustainNowRadio.