Friday, August 22, 2008

what's the big deal??

I thought it was about time to mention some of our motivation for constructing and cultivating a garden like Amyitis.  I hope that as people become interested in the project that they simultaneously become familiar with our intentions, our inspiration, and what has educated us.  With any luck, our work here may become an inspiration to others wanting to make a conscious change in their community and our environment.  
It has become clear to me that the earth that we live on will continue to develop and change as an organism regardless of how we treat it.  However, if we are to sustain animal and plant life for ourselves, change needs to happen continually anywhere it can take hold.  In other words, the earth would be just fine without us, but we would not be fine without it.  While, as a culture, we often look for set-it-and-forget-it solutions, it has become clear that fostering these imperative environmental and social changes requires constant experimentation, communication, and creativity.  In the simplest of terms, there are no blanket solutions to global issues.  We must treat diverse issues with diverse solutions, drawing upon local resources to create local responses.  Organic farms that still use techniques like mono cropping  are no more sustainable simply because they hold the title "organic".  The greatest change can happen in the smallest of ways, little by little, locally.  Our hope with Amyitis is to participate in this local change.  
Will something like Amyitis really help?  Are restaurants really able to be environmentally sustainable enterprises?  We can only hope so.  There is always the chance that we may find out that a deeper reorganizing of the way that we live is necessary for us to thrive.  For now, we hope that Amyitis and other farms, gardens, co-ops, community centers, and restaurants begin these changes one step at a time, creating a wave of change over time.  If we are able to inspire others with our work, real change has a chance.  
  What are the benefits of small, local farms and gardens? There are almost too many to mention. While there is a rapidly growing catalog of reference material describing the benefits of actions like Amyitis, there are also a few simple reasons.  
  1. We are becoming a community resource.  By having Amyitis attached to a local restaurant we are becoming a source of information for the community.  
  2. We have control over what we produce and what goes into it.  We don't use petrochemicals or chemical fertilizers.
  3. We are beginning to invite volunteers to help us, making Amyitis an educational tool.   
  4. We have created new green space.
  5. We have taken a small step towards sustaining ourselves.
We would like to encourage all of our readers to do their homework.  There are so many books and magazines dedicated to educating all of us around how to best change our world for the better.  Here are a couple places to start:

"The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. The Penguin Press.
"Mycelium Running" by Paul Stamets. Ten Speed Press
"The Fatal Harvest Reader" Edited by Andrew Kimbrell. Island Press.
"Toolbox for Sustainable City Living" Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew. South End Press.
"The New Organic Grower" Eliot Coleman. Chelsea Green Publishing.

We also encourage your comments as readers of this blog.  We want to hear about things that have worked for you or your community.  We are in the process of learning how to create the best solutions with the environment we have.  Use this blog as a forum for sharing information about creating this change!!

Jessie will be doing most of the new posts for the next month as I am off touring the west coast on my bicycle.  You can follow that blog at and watch us as we ride through some of the U.S.'s most majestic terrain.  



1 comment:

Kerry said...

David -

Read about what you're doing in Tablehopper and was really excited to hear about this community project! It sounds like the beginnings of Chez Panisse, and we all know where they are today! I'm so glad to see people are not only thinking about food differently here, but truly acting on their principles.

Unfortunately I don't have a yard to help with this, but I forwarded it to friends and I think at least 4 people will contact you.

Best of luck and I'll make sure to visit Weird Fish, Boogaloo's and any other restaurants you support!

cheers, kerry