The New York Times yesterday published this piece about folks hiring gardeners to plant and tend their kitchen gardens so they can have homegrown produce even if they don't have the time, skills, or inclination to garden themselves. All day yesterday I watched this story race around the blogosphere, with fans of local eating ridiculing the rich soft spoiled brats who want to hire someone to do their weeding for them. Slashfood asks what's next, "A service that sends someone to your home to wipe your mouth with an organic, locally-harvested hemp fiber napkin?" Diggin It is annoyed: "It wasn’t what they were doing as much as they were hopping on the bandwagon of the latest trend they’ve read about, eating locally grown foods."
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Those who didn't outright condemn the idea made prim moral-values judgments about it. Eat Local Challenge says, "I can only hope that those who have room to grow their own food but pay others to tend it will soon discover the delight of sowing, weeding, tending and eventually harvesting food their own hands have touched." Fresh Greens agrees: "a part of gardening is lost when the hired help is doing the harvesting for you." As if there's something inherently wrong with folks deciding to spend their free time on something they enjoy instead of dutifully picking up a hoe and getting those weeds. There's something Puritanical about this hard-work-is-good-for-the-character approach: Shame on you for not growing it yourself.
I say hooray. Hooray for the folks whose thumbs aren't green but who can afford to have healthy food growing outside their back door anyway -- I wish everyone could afford that. Hooray for the organic gardeners who can turn something they love doing into a way to make a living. Hooray for having a little more garden and a little less lawn in suburbia. Hooray for home grown veggies getting so much attention that people who've never picked a tomato want to see what it's all about.
Speaking as someone who gardens with a lot more enthusiasm than competence, if anyone in Cincinnati is offering a service like this one, please contact me. I will hire you today.