I am a big fan of talk radio, I have been since my early 20s. Not sure why so I’ll blame my parents. They are equally addicted, so I grew up with the radio emitting mainly voices rather than music. During the week I tend to listen to ABC radio (774) but on Sundays this simply isn’t possible as they allow Macca onto the air. Now I truly believe that radio should dedicate more time to rural issues but in my view this should take the form of Country hour taking some of Richard Stubbs afternoon slot rather than the interminable Ian McNamara being allowed anywhere near the airwaves. Happily 3RRR have a wonderfully talky Sunday line up, highlights include Dirty Deeds (gardening), Einstein A Go-Go (science), Radio Marinara (Sealife) and Eat It which is what I found myself listening to last Sunday. Eat It featured an interview with the writer of Whole Larder Love blog who has recently been published in book form. Anyway during the course of the interview one of the hosts mentioned that he felt that processed food had become so widespread that it had almost gotten to the point that cooking a meal from scratch was a political act. Now I have to admit liking this concept very much. So much so that it forms the basis of this week’s Top 5. (Apologies for the long winded intro for all those non-Melbourites who will be unfamiliar with the Sunday line up on 3RRR or indeed those non-Australians who mercifully escape having Ian McNamara thrust upon them on Sunday mornings).
I have to admit a slight tendency towards fairly inane quasi political gestures. From burning pages from the Joy of Sex with accompanying rants about men’s subjugation of women as a teenager (my father was not pleased and rightly gave me the ‘no burning of books in this house’ lecture), to on again and off again boycotts of all manner fast food retailers, supermarkets and multi-national conglomerates, I do like a bit of middle class protest. So imagine my excitement to be able to think of kitchen gardening in those terms. Admittedly I’ve only been thinking in those terms since Sunday so much of this may be ill thought out and perhaps a little silly, so with that proviso I bring you: Top 5 ways in which kitchen gardening is a political act.
1. I will borrow from Eat it and make the point I think the presenter was making. There are a lot of companies making money out of effectively deskilling (cookery being the skill in question) people through the provision of processed and fast food. Kitchen Gardeners generally cook their own food, thus retaining the skill of cookery. They also deprive the food manufacturers who want to convince you that you are incapable of roasting your own chicken or indeed flavouring it without purchasing a roasting ‘bag’ made of goodness knows what and filled with a few dried out herbs and a bucketful of salt, some of their potential revenue.
2. Every vegetable you grow yourself is one you’re not buying from somewhere else, and if that somewhere is one of the supermarkets better still.
3. Kitchen gardeners control the means of production (of produce anyway) which from a leftist perspective can only be a good thing.
4. Every dollar lost to conventional farming methods is another reason for farmers to switch to organics. Whether you grow your own or buy organic, falling revenue for conventional farming makes organics more attractive which has the added benefit of potentially depriving the agrochemicals industry revenue.
5. Kitchen gardeners often grow heirloom varieties and/or save seed. The wider range of varieties grown and the number of people actively saving and swapping seed helps work against multi-nationals which aim to gain control of the world-wide seed market. Information on seed sovereignty and the campaign against seed patenting can be found here and here.