White Picket Fences, Free Range Fantasies, and the Many Paths of Sustainable Living

Thank you for speaking up about this. I won’t feel so left out now. I have often felt that the grass was greener elsewhere. Currently, I don’t have a deck or sunny yard or garden. I think an alternative for many of us (especially single people and renters) could be to join with friends and neighbors to share community gardens. Many towns and cities provide plots at low or no cost for gardening. Yes, there is often a wait-list, but I also know of people who create community gardens in their yard, sharing efforts and harvest with neighbors. Because I move a lot and work most days, and my work physical, I have not pursued this myself. After I moved here last fall, I was hoping when the trees filled in during the Spring, there would still be plenty of sun in the back yard for growing vegetables, but it is shady. Still, I can probably manage a small container garden in the limited sunny spots, and I do grow culinary and medicinal herbs on my windowsills. Meanwhile, I am always happy to support sustainable growers by visiting my local Farmer’s Markets when I can, which gives me more bang for my buck (quality, quantity and/or price), so I see that as a win-win.

Permaculture!

 

The Druid's Garden

We live in a time of grand and sweeping narratives, powerful narratives that tell us who to be, how to live, what to buy, and what to believe–and these shape our actions and identities. When I was a child in the 1980’s, the narrative of the American Dream, complete with the white picket fence, was compelling. A beautiful suburban home, a middle class lifestyle, a loving partner, 2.5 children, a large house, a beautiful lawn, the husband with a well paying job, and generally peaceful existence were the cornerstones of this dream. Of course, there’s a lot of critique of the white picket fence today, spanning from racial injustice and socioeconomic realities to sustainable living issues. In the sustainability community, in particular, the white picket fence has become a sense of what we are working against, as the white picket fence surrounds the chemically-treated and weed free grass…and certainly…

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