Frost settled on Dallas, TX right on cue, only a few days after the predicted first frost date of Nov. 24th. It wasn’t a surprise. Far from it, I’d been grimly aware all week leading up to that first night of sub 30 degree temperatures.
It’s not the cold that bothered me. I like all the seasons equally, and usually just experience them coming and going without a second thought….in most years. It’s just that this year, this god-awful year of our Lord, 2020, was such a shit show that I had to develop new survival / self-care routines and the garden facilitated most of those habits.
Maybe it was the timing. Maybe it was everything happening in the world. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning but starting a garden whose purpose was to provide for our family, rather than as a casual hobby, made this experience feel much more urgent and important than it might have otherwise.
2020 was a year of firsts -for everyone, no doubt. But while others were struggling to adapt to remote working or homeschooling, my life changed dramatically in very different ways.
Shit Got Real This Spring
This is the first time I’ve taken responsibility for providing real, nourishing food for my family (I’m sorry to say). And though I’ll never be so naive again, it was the first time that food security really felt like a priority.
Health is an unnecessarily hot topic these days, with the majority of people -even healthcare professionals- having recently forgotten everything western science ever learned about the human immune system in favor of fear-based political propaganda.
Those of us who still believe in the power of a healthy immune system have had to quietly prioritize common-sense wellness practices like getting sunlight and eating low-carb / high-fat diets with lots of homegrown veggies. Quietly, because promoting these time-tested, immunity-boosting health strategies might get you a “conspiracy-nut” label these days.
It feels like I spent all of 2020 either rolling my eyes in irritation or shaking my head in disbelief. I started the garden to give us more control over our health while world governments, the media, and health-related NGOs opted to promote the worst health strategy conceivable during a respiratory-related pandemic.
While supply-chain logistics fell apart the global food supply was squeezed to a point of crisis. Elsewhere lockdown measures and border closings plunged the world into an abrupt and unprecedented financial depression that our governments are currently trying to pretend doesn’t exist.
And before we could recover from the staggering damage caused by the first lockdowns, the World Economic Forum’s ghastly “Great Reset” propaganda videos emerged on the world stage. Utopian on the surface, with terrifyingly dystopian undertones, they propose the answer to both the climate crisis and the pandemic is a total restructuring of society, personal agency, and ownership.
The Great Reset is the kind of dystopian nightmare dreamt up by the type of people whose families used to own feudal titles and secretly pursue a doctrine of eugenics. And they’re supported by the types of global corporate interests that have unlimited budgets and operate beyond the reach of governments.
Big tech, big agriculture, big pharma, and the global war machine are all having a gangbuster year while the actual citizens of the world are starving, committing suicide, or being forced into corporate slavery.
What does this have to do with gardening? EVERYTHING.
By growing our own vegetables we can reduce dependency on toxic foods produced by the industrial-agriculture industry. Organic vegetables provide more vitamins and antioxidants, boosting our immune-systems. Spending time outside gardening increases our vitamin D intake in ways no pill can reproduce.
Gardening is as much a form of resistance as a way to build resilience. It’s also a big part of the solution to food insecurity and, at scale, can play a significant role in carbon sequestration (removing carbon from our atmosphere to combat climate change).
Gardening is magical technology that can heal the world.
Our garden was my attempt to address a few of the many challenges 2020 wrought upon us and a chance to get ahead of the growing vulnerabilities the current crisis has exposed. It was also a way to combat lockdown depression, feelings of helplessness, to practice homesteading, and begin our transition to a regenerative lifestyle.
It was my sanity, my entertainment, and living proof that I can be a good custodian, cooperate with the land, and produce a meaningful return that supports a healthy way of living.
So not only did it make me a little sad to see it suddenly wither and die last week but it also robbed me of the comfort of being able to assert control in this devolving situation.
Yes, it’s a bit of self-deception to pretend that my little garden plot will save us from The Great Reset but it’s a measure of resistance at least. It buys us time and allows us to practice. And that feels a bit like lost momentum, though it’s really not.
The truth of our situation is that this lull in the growing season is as much a part of a real food security strategy as planting in the spring or harvesting in the fall.
Winter is an annual reset, part of the cycle of life and death that moves us through time. Man-made “resets” notwithstanding, the process of the old dying and composting for the new is as elegant and efficient as it is timeless and necessary.
Still, I’m a bit melancholy and so I thought it might be cathartic to share some of the lessons I learned while teaching myself Homesteading 101 during this pivotal and unusual year.
Read my reflections on resilience gardening in 2020.
For my part I’m trying to maintain a #PMA, but it’s often very difficult because of how bleak the world seems most of the time. My garden has been a critical part of my sanity, but it’s also been a major part of a journey of self-realization which is coming to fruition in the here and now.
Building and nurturing my garden was an important step in the right direction. Launching this blog was another. I have a feeling my upcoming visit to Mexico is going to feel like another puzzle piece snapping into place.
2020 has been a year of practice…and praxis.
2021 is going to be a year of putting everything on the line to make our dreams a reality. Great Reset or no, I’m not the kind of person who fails to follow through. The garden proves that the futures I see in my mind’s eye are real enough if I want them to be…it’s just a matter of time and effort.