I’ve long thought that there was something creepy about the urban gardening movement: I love fresh food, but I’m happy to leave the growing to the experts. Back-to-the-land urban hippies often discover that Mother Nature, far from being warm, cuddly and loving, is in fact a tempermental bitch.
Even when it works out, the sheer irrationality of it leaves me gobsmacked. I’m not just talking about the fact that growing anything more than a few tomato vines or some rosemary (which I still manage to kill, somehow) in an urban precinct is about as inefficient a use of land as can be imagined: this isn’t Stalingrad, Army Group South isn’t at the door, and there are plenty of farmers’ markets and organic shops if that’s how your taste runs.
And then there’s the commie-culty vibe, as detailed by the Sydney Morning Herald today:
JEWELS BOWERING started growing food a couple of years ago to feed her two sons “as naturally as possible”. Now, depending on the season, you’ll find crops ranging from tomatoes to Madagascar beans and snowpeas to pawpaw – as well as three much-loved chickens – in the modest patch outside her Bondi home.
Ms Bowering has joined forces with more than 150 backyard “farmers” in the Waverley area through a project called Grow It Local. Gardeners register their patches at the Grow It Local website and Facebook page and share tips, tricks, seeds and cuttings.
On Saturday, many will donate produce for a community feast prepared by the chefs at popular Bronte restaurant Three Blue Ducks. Sixty lucky Waverley gardeners will then receive a “golden ticket” to attend the free dinner the following day.
Sorry, did I say Stalingrad before? This sounds more like Stalinism. Yes, it’s voluntary, but if I get this straight Three Blue Ducks gets a pile of free food (and free press), a lucky nomenklatura gets a great feed, and the rest of these eastern suburbs kulaks get nothing for their labour save for the knowledge they helped feed their little local food revolution?
On a side note, what is it with the names of the people who appear in these SMH thumb-suckers? “Jewels” , not Jewel? A kid named Tenzin? It reminds me of another article they did a few months ago about a local inner-west school that opened with the immortal line, “When year 2 student Finnigan Hercus grows up, he wants to be a Lego designer. His little sister, Phoebe-Bijou, wants to be a doctor or, failing that, a ballet dancer.”
Ironically, these are the same people who laugh at “bogan names”.* I await the day the Chaser goes handing out citations for what ought to be referred to as “Newtown names”.
Readers should look forward to more efforts to turn the clock back to Year Zero in the Herald as its parent company’s one-third owned subsidiary, Earth Hour Limited, gears up to don the hairshirt again this Saturday.
* Well, so do I. But my children haven’t been saddled with a lifetime being called “Finnigan Hercus”.