Take A Stand For Gardening And Spread The Word

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Why do we garden? Well there’s lots of reasons why – fresh food, exercise, cost, etc. But perhaps the biggest driver of our desire to garden can be summed up in one word – refusal. We refuse to put up with rock-hard, bland-tasting, vitamin- and mineral-depleted fruits and vegetables that are the standard fare at most grocery stores. We refuse to fill our mouths and bellies (and for that matter, those of our children) with pesticide-soaked, herbicide-infused, laboratory-altered produce. And lastly, we refuse to shell out our hard earned money for all of the aforementioned. We want our fruits and vegetables to taste fresh and provide a full complement of natural nutritive factors that our bodies need to survive and thrive. And we don’t want to live in fear that the produce we are putting into our mouths has been doused with cancer-causing chemicals or disease-laden poop fresh from the animal’s butt. When we grow fruits and vegetables ourselves, we know we have absolute control over what goes on it – or more importantly, what doesn’t go on it.

“What’s your point, Mark,” you may be saying to yourself. “I know all this already. I’m a gardener for the very reasons you just mentioned. And so are my family, my friends – heck, I belong to a whole club full of gardeners. You’re preaching to the choir.” And you’re right, I am. But there’s a reason for that. I want to first remind everyone why we do what we do. And then I want you to carry it one step further.

There’s a whole world out there that’s still dining on bland, pesticide-soaked, industrial produce. But we, as dedicated gardeners, can change this. How? By spreading the hobby of gardening among your family, friends, neighbors, and communities. And then by convincing your communities to spread it among other communities.

How can you accomplish this? Well, you can start by the simple act of sharing. Share your excess produce with your extended family, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else you can think of. You’ll be showing them what real food tastes like. After they bite into a fresh, home-grown tomato, it will be hard for them to go back to the bland, store-bought stuff.

Second, convince them to start their own garden. Encourage them to create their own production center for fresh, wholesome, pesticide-free food for their family. And then, just like the 1980’s commercial for Fabregé Organics, have them encourage two friends – then have them encourage two friends, and so on, and so on…

Just think what would happen if we became a nation of gardeners and stopped purchasing all that tasteless, pesticide-laced produce. We could bring all of those industrial producers to their knees by hitting them where it hurts – in the profit zone. Then maybe they’d start growing better fruits and vegetables.

A pipe dream? Probably. But certainly a goal worth aiming for.

One more thing. If you do convince your friends, neighbors, community, etc. to start gardening, and they find that they need some help, well, just tell them to contact your friendly neighborhood Garden Troubadour. Have trowel, will travel!

Cheese Cheese Everywhere

Accasciato

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” – Charles de Gaulle

Ah, cheese. That decadent, delicious dairy delight that we all love to consume. But how many of us have really experienced the world of cheese? How many of us have truly all the different varieties of cheese that are out there? Very few of us, I’d wager. When it comes to this culinary delight, the majority of us are trapped in our own little bubble of cheddar, American, Mozzarella, Parmesan (usually in pre-grated form), and a few others. And this is unfortunate because there’s a whole world of cheese out there just waiting to be enjoyed. And when I say world, I mean all around planet Earth. Nearly every nation around the globe has one or more cheeses that are unique to their piece of geography. You’re probably familiar with Gruyere and Emmental from Switzerland, Parmesan and Romano from Italy, or Brie from France. But have you ever tried Vacherin Fribourgeois? That’s another cheese from Switzerland. How about Accasciato and Bel Paise from Italy or Cendre d’Olivet from France? Or why not get really crazy and serve Ackawi, Baladi, Kanafeh, Kashkaval, and Shanklish at your next dinner party. Those cheeses are all from Lebanon.

Okay those last few are a bit exotic and probably not available here in the US. But it still illustrates my point – that when it comes to cheese, there’s an infinite number of ways to provide some new sensations for your palate.

So if it’s cheese you want and love, then I encourage you to think outside the cheddar box and try some new varieties. Your palate will thank you. Note: if you have to think outside the Velveeta box or the Chez-Whiz can, then you’re beyond help.