January 14th, 2009
Gardening is Political

Gardeners have strong opinions. And they’ll let you know them.

Those who think gardening is a safe haven from the nasty divisiveness of politics haven’t been keeping up.

Whether it’s choosing to grow vegetables or a lawn (if one is even permitted the choice by one’s neighbors), calculating how much water to use in the time of drought, or even releasing carbon into the air by digging in the soil–no matter your choices, you will run afoul of someone’s politics.

Even the seemingly innocuous winter pleasures of perusing seed catalogs can have public consequences. Are the seeds treated with fungicides? Are they genetically altered? Are hybrids an attack on genetic diversity and the economics of seed-saving? Perhaps you subscribe to a native plants only policy. Is growing flowers a waste of land, water, and energy that should be reserved for growing food? Or is it our duty to grow flowers in order to provide wildlife habitats and encourage biodiversity?

What of the seed companies themselves? Aside from the almost universal agreement that Monsanto is a bad actor, do we care who develops, selects, and distributes the seeds we depend on?

by M Sinclair Stevens

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