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Report From PIA – March 14

In today’s New York Times Magazine there is an article by Peggy Orenstein about the number of women who are not only raising vegetables but keeping chickens as well. The title of this article is: The Femivore’s Dilemma.

After reading this piece I decided that the issue raised goes way beyond feminism and raising your own organic food. The matter at hand is more about creating a life that has meaning. If at our core we feel that our days have real significance, it doesn’t matter if we’re growing vegetables, selling real estate or writing poetry.

Here at Whole Life Gardening I’m blogging about finding a life of meaning that starts in the garden. But anyone could start where they are and do the same thing. You could begin with being a parent, the study of birds, or marketing and explore how these activities are connected to a meaningful life.

This prompts me to think about some of the ways we can set out on this journey, no matter where we begin or which subject frames our exploration. Are there strategies that I use to move from the garden to life that would be useful for everyone else? Today I came up with four.

  1. Look past the surface. I may be dealing with weeds, soil or reliable plants in the garden, but I reflect on how those things speak to other aspects of life.
  2. Think of yourself as a sieve. I know that I’m porous, and information or inspiration is pouring through me at all times. You might decide that this comes from God, an angel, the universe, or your own brain… it doesn’t matter. What’s of importance is that you pay attention to all that flows through you, and don’t assume you’ll remember from one hour to the next. How often have I had an interesting thought or idea while cooking, only to forget it before the dishes are cleared away later? Countless times. Resolve to write most of it down.
  3. Realize that you have time for what’s important. Identify what is of value in your life, and then act accordingly. Everyone has core values, but most forget to focus on what those principles are and how they can guide daily life. For example, once you know that prayer or gratitude is valuable to you, you’ll pray or say thank you when showering, driving or shopping for groceries.
  4. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open. If you view your daily life as a treasure hunt, you’ll find gems in the most mundane activities.

This feminist and grower of fruits and vegetables thinks that although the term femivore is pretty limiting, Orenstein’s article did make me think. Gardeners or not, we’re all striving to cultivate a life that has meaning.

Although my husband and I get great joy from our vegetable garden, that doesn't mean that everyone will do the same. No one should feel compelled to grow a garden just because local food is in vogue!

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