Friday, February 4, 2011

2011 & The Garden

Hey you guys, you haven't stopped reading my blog! Nice. I've been remiss in filling up this space. For the first time in my life, it's not because I'm doing "a whole assortment of things", but because I'm running a shop, learning real-life-business-skills, and managing a few more people and "operations" than I am used to. Yes, this is growth. For myself, it's life on steroids. I suppose I won't have the energy for this sort of thing when I get older, so what the heck.

A month and some into 2011, I'd like to share my resolution with you: to garden more, and to feed more people with my garden.

(Above, a normal meal from the garden, assorted greens and flowers with our own coconut milk!)

To Garden is To Live

It is one of the greatest joys in my life to garden. Perhaps, like there are hunting dogs and those meant to become topiaries of hair, there are also people who just like the soil and leaves. I love the soil. I can live in a shack, for so long as around me is a garden (or something that can become one). I am happy when I garden. I daydream about it. I hyperventilate when I meet people who are doing exciting garden things. I am, quite clearly, a garden nerd, and, most probably, a garden bore.

Given the world is obviously ending in 2012-- I'll probably be watching Paranaque from the top of a coconut tree whilst slowly sinking with the trunk into water and/or lava-- I should do it while I can. Simple. The truth is, I want to do what I enjoy most, not save enough money and retire on some leisure farm, only to find out my back can't take wielding a pickaxe, and that I am to die running amongst the tomatoes a la Vito Corleone.

Can it be simple? I enjoy doing it and it teaches me about life and the universe. And I will do it as much as I can, screw what everyone says.

The Urban Farm Project

I live in a lot that is 2500 square meters large and within a "mega-city". 1/8 of it is a house (a converted handicrafts factory), 1/4 is my chaotic garden, and the rest is wild grass, trees, and patches of leisure. I've been feeding myself (and the familia) with wild food plants and cultivated vegetables for quite sometime, recently more than ever. I can feed more people. I just have to think about scale. I've even got a name for the farm. If it's got a name, it's happening.

I'm quite used to doing small garden projects. Growing enough cotton to make a few small dolls, growing all sorts of gingers and all sorts of cemetery trees, but I haven't been able to maximize the yield. It's been about amusement and meeting a very limited food demand. I can make cheap, low-carbon organic food for people. Closer even than Cavite farms, cleaner than the urban ones fed with sewage. Yes, be a farmer most of the time! See point A, above.

(Just wanted to show off my ginger assortment, above).

I was wondering if I should keep this goal of mine secret, but I decided to put good pressure on myself by telling other people. Besides trying to get people to eat "weird" crops (we eat a variety of plants that modern Filipinos have never heard of), I want to feed their brains by creating a farm that is more organized chaos. Fieldtrips within the city, etc. Teaching them to compost, showing them that chicken eggs don't all have white shells. Stuff like that. Sounds like fun? It's hard work and fun. The good kind of hard work.


sunsh said...

you have an awesome garden and a brilliant 2011 resolution! i love and admire what you're doing, bea. (i too am a "gardening nerd" but what i lack is an actual garden haha.) i'm very excited to read about how your plans turn out :)

Marie said...

Bea, do it! I would love to attend a class / field trip featuring "wild edibles". That's sort of the rage now in cosmopolitan kitchens in the US -- getting the masses to appreciate unconventional food. Back when I was an intern in a kitchen in NY, we had a "company field trip" to Central Park where we harvested wild edibles! Including juneberries (cranberries-esque), lambs quarters, sassafras (including roots for root beer!), epazote, poor man's pepper (like wild arugula), wild garlic. I wish I knew more about edible weeds here. I'm too scared of possible pesticides.