Weekend Inspiration: Global Gotcha Down? Look Local.

Well, I think I speak for just about the whole world when I say this week has sucked. The triumvirate of devastation that has hit Japan is horrific and mesmerizing and terrifying. The cries for democracy around the Middle East are being met with brutal repression. My state’s government just announced we are $80 million more in the red than previously thought, bringing our total state budget shortfall to $4 billion over the next 2 years. (Sorry, Johnny, no school for you.)

It’s the kind of week when it’s pretty tempting to stick your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and say “La la la la! I can’t hear you!” over and over again until some semblance of order and normalcy returns.

But even when the world seems most chaotic, and there doesn’t seem to be a bright spot anywhere in the news, there are signs of a literal and proverbial spring if you let your gaze settle on the things closest to you.

There is an old, independent bookshop in my hometown. Walking by Friday evening, I saw this display in the front display window:

The entire window was given over to books on urban homesteading and edible gardening. Now, I live in a community that is dominated by individuals of a certain age. Okay, I’ll just say it: our demographic is old people. We are not, as a town, young, hip or particularly inspired by anything Portlandia.

Yet even here, people want to pick up a shovel and grow something. Families and singles and retired folks are all saying, “Hey, the people up the road have that veggie garden. Maybe we could do that this summer…” The urban homesteader vibe is spreading. Even our little bookstore feels it.

To me this is hopeful, inspirational and reassuring. People are responding to the uncertainty around them by reaching for their own soil and their own productive capacity. They are responding to troubled times with pragmatic action. We may just become a Nation of Farmers after all.

The Edmonds Bookshop Display Window Selections:

Your Farm in The City
Edible Front Yard
The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook
Local Bounty
Outwitting Squirrels
Edible Seattle Magazine
The Revolutionary Yardscape
The Informed Gardener
The Informed Gardener Blooms Again
Edible Landscaping
Good Weed, Bad Weed
Greening Cities Growing Communities
Recipe for Raising Chickens
Grow Great Grub
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
The Curious Garden
Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land
Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life
The Backyard Homestead

What are your favorites from this list?

This Sunday is the official start to spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. Are you doing anything to mark the Vernal Equinox? And perhaps more importantly, what are you doing to protect your sense of peace in a world that seems decidedly unpeaceful right now?

Have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Spring!


  1. says

    After we finish picking up our car from the shop and paying a boatload for the privilege, we'll be consoling ourselves at TIlth's early edible sale. Even though it will apparently still be winter for weeks.

  2. Be Grim says

    I currently have "The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook" out from the library; it's great! I'm always on the lookout for recipes using ingredients from the garden or Farmers' Markets, and this book has lots of 'em.

  3. says

    Yes..the world has seen many problems this week. Many times I feel that I am only an observer as the world changes so rapidly around me. What is it that I can do to protect my sense of peace? Perhaps I have already been doing it…I garden on a half acre of land..not so much the edible kind, but more the blooming kind. It has been many years that I have been selling fresh cut flowers in front of my house..lock-box, on-your-honor system, bag-it-yourself. In all these years, I have found that most people really are honest (have had people chase me down the grocery isle "Hey Dan..I owe you $3.00 for that last bouquet"). This and knowing that my flowers are on somebody's table bringing a little brightness into the day, is what makes my world turn.

  4. says

    I would love every one of those books, but outwitting squirrels sounds particularly good! Here in Australia, it would be outwitting possums, but much of a muchness!

  5. says

    I agree it's been a horrible week globally. I am one with my fingers in my ears though… well not so much that, but I NEVER watch the news, or read the paper for that very reason. I hear about the best or worst of it through word of mouth (or FB). I was unpleasantly surprised to hear we bomed Lebanon (Libya actually, but it was the thought that counted from my father-in-law). We live in an insane world, so I'm trying my best to keep my little homestead in MLT as sane and close to Mother Earth as I can…

  6. says

    Erica – have you heard of "Readers to Eaters?" I found them at a science teacher conference, and have been hooked. They have books like this, and they are also becoming a publisher. Thought you might want to know!

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