by William Teach | January 17, 2011 9:48 am
Again, there is nothing wrong with environmentalism, and being environmentally conscious. Yet, have you ever noticed that so many of the self-proclaimed environmental champions always take it about 5 steps too far, and drift into La La Land? Case in point: Reflections on community gardens and the legacy of MLK
Note: This is a version of a speech I delivered in 2009 at Duke University’s Sara P. Duke Garden at the invitation of the student group Farmhand, but it’s absolutely still relevant today.
I want to congratulate the members of Farmhand for their brilliant idea of celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy at a garden. And not just any garden, but a culinary garden, one whose produce not only delights the eye but actually feeds people; and not just a culinary garden, but a community garden, one that brings people together across race, class, and age lines to grow things together.
Because this is what MLK, Jr. Day is all about: community gardens. Not having a Dream of racial intolerance being put aside by all sides, everyone coming together, not “drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred”, letting freedom ring. Nope. Community gardens.
I doubt that Dr. King found much time to hang out among the flower buds, but I don’t doubt he would have approved of the practice of community gardening. And of course, as an African American from the Deep South, he was exposed to the tradition of home gardening and smallholder farming, and he saw how cooks, both white and black, built a food culture out of the resulting bounty of collard greens, butter beans, okra, and other flavorful and highly nutritious foods.
Of course, it is so easy. If we all had community gardens, everything would be perfect. Because the writer knows MLK’s mind.
The rest if the story is about how evil modern farming practices are, and racist to boot! Personally, I don’t doubt that MLK would have simply patted the eco-nuts on the head like a rather slow child still trying to master See Spot Run at age 10, since he seemed to be the kind of guy who wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings by pointing out what nutjobs they are.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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