Does Gardening Have Value?
By Kathy Jentz
For a book club I am in, we are reading Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk. There is much food for thought in this small book, though one idea stuck with me the most: that the home arts, including gardening, have no value in our current economy. Not only are the efforts of gardeners under-valued, but they are considered a drain on actual “productive” hours that could be spent earning funds. To do what with that money? To pay others to mow-and-blow, then endlessly spray to combat weeds and pests, your just-for-show lawn? Then we pay for a gym membership to get our exercise. We pay someone else to grow our food and deliver it from far away or we pass out still more money for another person to prepare our food so it is fast and easy to consume. All to get more hours to do “productive work.” Meanwhile, we become increasingly detached from nature in our climate-controlled living and work spaces. We forget these basic skills and then are slaves to the economic system because we need to pay others to do them for us.
Let’s step back for a minute and think about this. Gardening can be simply a hobby or pastime, but it can be more. It can be a way to control your part of the economy. You can step out of the rat race and decide consciously how much you want to grow yourself for food, for pleasure, and for the local wildlife. You can demonstrate to others the true value of gardening by sharing that abundance with them and spreading the knowledge as well.
Viva la gardening revolution!
Kathy Jentz is editor/publisher of Washington Gardener magazine (http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com)/. Washington Gardener magazine is the gardening publication published specifically for the local metro area — zones 6–7 — Washington DC and its suburbs.