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Tuesday, June 8, 2010


by Mike

People are like water. They tend to follow the path of least resistance, not always, but often. I think the laziest year of my life was my Freshman Year in college. I remember one time that our remote control to our TV broke. At first, we ended up watching just one channel because no one had the energy to get up off of the couch. Then one of our friends broke his leg and he had to use crutches. We commandeered his crutches, moved the couch within crutch distance of the TV, and used the crutch to change the channel. This was a lazy, path of least resistance, method to change the channel to our precious TV.

You may ask why I bring this up. Marisa and I had some free time the other night so we decided to veg in front of the boob tube for a while. We don’t have cable but we do have Netflix streaming to our TV. I found some episodes of an interesting show called The Lazy Environmentalist. It is normally shown on the Sundance channel. John Dorfman is the host and he has an interesting perspective. He is an environmental advocate but he believes that most people will not embrace environmentalism unless it is easy, cost effective, and convenient. While this is not true for everyone I think it is an interesting idea. In his show he visits people in there homes or businesses and tries to help them be more environmentally friendly. However, he doesn’t seem to expect them to make extreme measures, rather he tries to find easy ways to change what they do that will help the environment, while at the same time helping them. It is an entertaining and educational show that we both enjoyed.

I like John Dorfman's philosophy and I think it mirrors the philosophy we try to have with backyard farming. We want to encourage and inspire everyone to try to raise there own food. We know that not everyone can have a goat, or raise there own chickens. We do believe that everyone can do a little something to start raising there own food. Marisa had some great comments from a lot of you about what we can do to garden in our apartment. Now I have a new question. Think of those of your friends that don’t have anything to do with gardening. What would you tell them to do that would be an easy, unintimidating way to start raising there own food, or at least eating more locally? How can we help people start down the path of self sufficiency? Please comment on your ideas. I think, that once people eat spinach from there own garden, or once they go to a farmer’s market they will be bitten by the backyard farming bug and never go back.



*Invite them to join me at the farmers market.
*Share the harvest of my garden.
*Share some of my seedlings that are almost "fool" proof with simple instructions.

Some people simply do not have an interest or talent in gardening. Perhaps they have another interest/talent that I don't. We can trade on that. Perhaps a neighbor could sew me a garden apron in exchange for canned salsa.

You've inspired me to network better with my neighbors. Thanks.

Ladyfromthewoods said...

Sprouts in a jar to put in salads and casseroles. Seeing them right there in your kitchen makes it easier to care for them & use them.

If they have potted flowers on their balcony or deck, challenge them to make just one pot a "veggie" pot (or give them one pre-planted), with some basil or marigolds and a tomato plant. That tasty tomato will sell them to growing their own food over those store-bought veggies in record time.

Karen Blandford said...

I gave seeds for presents at Christmas. Very cheap presents, but you can also personalize! I gave a collection of container garden vegetables to my sister, who can only grown vegetables in containers near her driveway, and to a good friend, I gave a collapsable salad spinner with a collection of lettuce seeds.

Ecocheapo said...

I 100% agree with getting someone started with sprouts. Maybe they have never eaten sprouts so giving them some to try in a sandwich or salad might be a good place to start. Then help them get started with seeds and a sprouting set up. The "immediate gratification" and ease will hopefully make them want to take it to the next level.