I just wandered into the backyard to pick our daily figs, and THE GARDENERS HAD HACKED BACK THE FIG TREE! Almost all of the figs within reach are GONE. I called the manager, but regardless it's too late. The source of shade for my playing children and the source of so many nearly-ready figs is irreparably diminished. I am oh-so-sad (and possibly overdramatizing given my new-found joy in jam-making). His response was that most tenants don't use the fruit on their trees, and they complain that the rot and mess attracts rats (which it does). The gardeners had a complaint from another client about this just yesterday, so he figures his guys were just being proactive. Sigh.
I have to say, a big part of what makes me sad is knowing he is perfectly right. His guys were well within the realm of reality to assume we'd prefer the fruit gone. How sad that the majority of spoiled first-world dwellers see fresh-off-the-tree fruit as a nuisance to be dealt with rather than a gift from the sun and the earth. I'm not trying to be too hippie or preachy about this, but it's a really good reminder of how very much we take for granted. Most of the world's population grows food not because it's cute and a nice hobby but because it is a necessity for survival. I read in a New York Times food column that we waste up to 50% of our food on average. That's appalling! We've forgotten what a luxury readily available food truly is. Not long ago in Western history, vast portions of the population grew their own food to the extent possible as part of the war effort. The government published huge posters with catchy slogans reminding people that transporting food over vast distances wastes energy that could be used for better purposes.
Victory gardens were part of being good citizens...but they also made good common sense. If you could grow your own food, why wouldn't you? Yes, it's a lot of work compared to buying it from the grocery store, but the results taste so much better than what the big chains can put on your table.
Before anyone infers that I am on some holier-than-thou kick, I'm not. I don't have a vegetable garden. I do have an herb garden, and even that is 100% worth any effort involved. I've long thought about growing our food, but I've never really given it a go. I don't even know where to start. But this topic is on my mind quite often and quite passionately. I've added this post to a new category here called "let's discuss". I hope we do! I would love to get a good discussion going.
Are you doing any gardening? How is it going for you? Success? Trials? I hope you'll leave a comment and come back to participate in any discussion that might get going. Thank you!