What Does Gardening Have to Do with the #Occupy Movement?

Robert T. Bell/CC BY 2.0

My colleagues here at TreeHugger have done an amazing job covering the #Occupy movement. Chris has looked into the idea of #Occupy being a building block to a Constitutional Convention. Lloyd has discussed the issue of police brutality, and Sami has looked at the misconceptions people have about the movement.

I'm here, as always, to look at it with a gardener's eye. (Stay with me.)

A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow garden writer Mr. Brown Thumb started the #OccupyGardens hashtag on Twitter, kind of as a joke. But the more I looked at it, the more it made sense. Occupy is about fighting greed, about taking control from the corporations and their government cronies and bringing it back to we the people, the 99%.

What is more basic to all of our needs than food?

In Jenna Woginrich's excellent book, Made from Scratch, she argues that:

"Vegetable gardening has been called 'the peaceful sedition' because at the most basic level, when a person can feed and shelter herself, she doesn't require a government to provide for her. ... It's not about pride or independence, or even connecting with nature. It's about wanting hash browns on a Saturday morning and being able to run out to the backyard in your bathrobe to grab some potatoes from the garden."

I would argue that, even more, it means that she doesn't need a corporation to provide for her. And when we don't need the corporations, they cease to have the ability to exist -- or at least cease to have so much power that the will of the people means nothing. Look at the way we're fighting for something as simple, as self-explanatory, as GMO labeling. 87 percent of Americans want to know if they're eating GMOs or not. The hubris of corporate America, and their Congressional lapdogs, is what is keeping us from that knowledge.

"Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks." -- Ian Hamilton Finlay

This is how I've come to see my garden, bit by bit, over the years. Where others see a peaceful place to while away a summer afternoon, I see a full arsenal in my fight against corporatocracy. The shake of a seed packet is my chant; rows of chard and beds of potatoes are my weapons.

Roger Doiron, of Kitchen Gardeners International, recently gave a TEDx talk about the power of gardening. It is definitely worth a look:

Every bite of food we grow ourselves, every forkful that comes from our own labor instead of from the troughs of corporate food, is a statement that we are taking our power back. We don't need them to feed us. Whether from our garden, our farmer's market, or our local CSA, we can feed ourselves.

#Occupy Wall Street, and L.A., and Detroit. But #Occupy the garden, as well.

Want to get started?

Tags: Food Security | Gardening

2014 Gift Guide

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK