Last year I started this blog, Spades and Spoons, to record our experiences in our kitchen garden, and what we do with our produce in the kitchen. A simple blog, with a simple focus, chronicling a fairly simple life.
Eight months ago, if you had asked me why we grow a sizeable proportion of what we eat, I would have had a few innocuous reasons at hand: it’s fun, it’s easy, I like to save a buck, it’s satisfying. So far, so ho hum.
I stopped blogging after a few months for a lot of reasons. I got busy with work, the garden got quiet in winter, I started to have doubts about why I was blogging at all. I mean, who cares about my broccoli? And so it stood, neglected, for eight months until now.
In early 2008 when I started this blog, the storm clouds were gathering on the horizon in the form of the sub-prime loans debacle but the storm hadn’t hit yet. Now, though, the Global Financial Crisis has taken hold. It is hard to see how anyone on the planet will escape some impact.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not) I’ve been reading books by Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defence of Food. While focussing on the industrialization of food in the United States, the books make sobering reading for anyone in a developed country. On one hand, they are an indictment of how we have allowed our food to become so remote from our lives, how big business is forcing farmers into work methods that degrade our environment and don’t give them a decent income, all for the sake of cheap food. You soon come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as “cheap food”. On the other hand, he gives us a prescription for the future that just might work: eat less, eat plants, grow at least some of your own food.
Books like these have convinced me that simple acts like growing food and living simply within our means aren’t just ways an individual can balance a budget and feed a family. They are deeply political acts. They are acts that have far more impact than any vote I make. They are acts, which if enough of us adopt them, can change the way the world works. And really, the best outcome from the GFC is if we can somehow all learn to live within our means, for the sake of the planet, both now and in the future when the economy eventually recovers (as my economics training tells me it eventually will). I believe that is what is at stake here.
So I thought about my little blog. I’ve been inspired by a few blogs about simplifying life especially Rhonda Jean's blog. I’ve decided to revive this blog and lend it’s weight to what I hope will be a phenomenon. I’ll probably change the focus a little. Gardening and cooking will still be there, along with preserving and winemaking, but I’ll also write about sewing, making do, budgeting and anything else I think may be relevant and of interest.
In the last 24 hours, every news bulletin has been dominated by the awfulness of the year to come, economically. Let’s see if we can use whatever comes our way for some positive end to recast our world into more sustainable model.