Kitchen Garden

A Beautiful Spring Day

Yard sign pick up display, May 29, 2021.

After an early morning frost scare, Saturday turned into a perfect spring day. Ambient temperatures in the mid sixties, and clear and partly cloudy skies, it was perfect.

We have a special election for county supervisor June 8 and I volunteered to help with sign distribution this weekend. In a county race, yard signs are more important than in a presidential race. There is availability across the county this weekend. I placed a couple, but few outside the campaign were thinking about yard signs: it was a beautiful spring day. There’s more of the same today.

I used the event to make political contacts, mow the front lawn, and collect grass clippings to mulch the garden. I finally mulched the tomatoes which are becoming well-established. It was a long busy day outdoors — the first in a couple of weeks.

I read Mark Bittman’s new book Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal this week. In it was this chart about personal diets:

Page scan from Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal by Mark Bittman.

If you can’t agree this is a key method of organizing an individual diet, you’re part of the problem with our food system.

Individual behavior regarding the food system is one thing, yet collective action is what will matter more in the long run. We Americans continue to be pretty individualistic and most people would claim to eschew collective action, even if they participate in it.

I like the idea of meatless Monday and so does Bittman. He describes it as part of a program among some school districts to mandate local sourcing and responsibly produced food. That is, eliminating trans-fat, high-fructose corn syrup, hormones and antibiotics, artificial preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, bleached flour and artificial sweeteners. Those of us who eat a vegetarian diet know a meatless Monday is not only possible, it can be a way of life.

Meatless Monday, and other, similar broad initiatives, are important because they break down individual action and require us to participate in a broader culture of food. The U.S. food production system is recalcitrant about changing anything so while one school district doesn’t make a big difference, it is a chink to set a piton in our climb up the face of a disastrous food system. We should encourage meatless Mondays from the broader potential they represent: even if, like with us, every day is meatless.

By the end of today I’d like to get plot #7 planted and there is a real possibility I will. After that, weeding and more weeding: the life of a gardener.