Take a leaf from that garden

“It’s a busy world out there,” says the suit on TV, “and it’s getting busier all the time.”

You become aware that the nation’s leading television network is offering prime time exposure for the second supermarket giant’s foray into online shopping. Sit back at your computer and let your clicking finger do the walking. That long, demanding day at work has devoured your energy. Why not have modern technology home deliver?

This 21st century quick fix is truly Orwellian. Big Brother uses lots of light, sound and mirrors. He tells you to embrace His large scale, chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods, genetically modified and monoculture-based crops. Big Brother has long since mastered the psychology of learned helplessness.

Let us do it for you. It’s too hard otherwise. Just do what we say.

Our farmers market engages the buyer. It’s founded on sustainable, locally produced, organically farmed foods. You can get almost all your grocery needs on Saturday morning. Last week, shopping for two, a hundred dollars bought chicken, beef, lamb, ocean trout, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber, lettuce, spring onion, apples, pears, potatoes, mint, coriander, garlic, onion, strawberries, asparagus and peaches.

A growing chorus from the wilderness is alerting us that Big Brother’s ways are unsustainable. There is a closing window in the 21st century. In a few decades carbon emissions, population growth, resource decimation, factory farming and industrial waste could well combine in an ecological train wreck of planetary proportions.

The cries are loud enough for the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development to release its Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late, a call for small-scale farming as the only way to feed the world. Australia’s two hundred farmers markets are important, but only engage a fraction of the people.

Urban micro-farmers like the Dervais family in Pasadena, California show the way. Their site, urbanhomestead.org, gives a snapshot of the future that United Nations report promotes. This family of four harvests three thousand kilos of organic food annually from a four hundred square metre garden, using solar energy and biodiesel.

The site details strategies to plant, tend and reap almost all their produce. They grow all their own food, keep chooks and ducks, compost waste, make butter and cheese, bake their own bread, recycle grey water to the garden, keep bees and make honey in the shadow of the freeway to downtown Los Angeles. They live the dream.

Maybe we should all take a leaf from that garden.