Occupy a Garden


I like protests as much as the next guy. There’s no better way to say, “We’re mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore” than by…literally saying, “We’re mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore!” But protest without proper action to back up your claims and demands gives a protest very little meaning. Protesting not to protect what you have but rather to get what you didn’t work for is futile and unworthy.

In other words, how many of the ninety-nine percent have done anything to lessen their dependence upon the systems that they so abhor – government or corporations? How many are willing to shrug off the thought that the government could provide them everything they need? How many are aware than in a fascist oligarchy that no difference exists?

I listened to Afterburner with Bill Whipple and it really drove home a few points and some hypocrisy. Love/hate relationships are so complicated!

As an advocate of sustainable gardening my point, in this roundabout way, is that one cannot claim corporate greed is robbing you of your future if you won’t learn to dig in the soil. Saving the “what’s wrong with this generation is…” talk, it’s much easier to blame corporations or the government than to actually do what’s hard – like taking a shovel to the ground.


There’s almost nothing that can’t be cured by gardening. If you don’t like corporations the solution is simple – you have to wean yourself off of them. But don’t be fooled, chances are you will need something a corporation makes and you’ll be happy to have it when the need exists.

But food doesn’t have to come from a corporation and it doesn’t have to come from a tin can, a box in the freezer or out of a plastic bag. It comes from the soil. But it takes work and you can’t cede your responsibility any longer. If you want to eat you are going to have to work for it. You can’t spit in the faces of the people who make what you willingly give your money for.

But working for it also has its benefits. Instead of ceding your responsibilities you can do the work and become fit and able and learn. You will also save money in the long run. Take that – evil corporations (sarcasm intended)!


For the other side it’s almost as tempting to claim helplessness due to excessive government intervention. I hate government and I’d be an anarchist if it weren’t so anarchistic. Think about it, in the garden there is no government. Just try to lead, exert your influence. Have you ever tried to regulate a ladybug? Passed a law against squash bugs? Declared a war on weeds?

If you want to avoid government there’s an easy way. Deprive them of the money that you rightfully owe them just for existing – taxes. The government can only steal from you because you allow it. We grin and bear a lot of these taxes. If you want to work and buy all those nice toys from corporations you have to earn money.

But what if you could avoid hundreds of dollars in taxes per year by digging a hole and putting a seed in? By growing your own food you avoid paying a corporation and the double taxes (those from your purchase and those the corporation passed on!). Or what do I know? Maybe holding a sign and chanting works just as well.

Something for Nothing

My problem with the occupy movement is that they want something for nothing. Well not all of them and I’m going to hear that not everyone there is a socialist shill. That may be true but when three out of four news interviews involve someone griping that no one has stepped up and paid their student loan I get aggravated. Maybe it’s because I paid my tuition as I went.

But just to humor those who want something for nothing. It isn’t happening. But the next best thing though is planting a garden. Where else can you do a little work (and work is a four letter word to some) and get so much in return? For the price of a seed (less than pennies) you can get pounds of produce (value measured in dollars). There’s your something for nothing. I did the calculations one time and a pack of broccoli seeds that sold for a few bucks could produce hundreds of dollars worth of produce. And you don’t have to sell your soul, or get on your knees and beg the government for it.


Like I said, protest has its place. I’d be glad to speak out and do what is necessary to defend my inalienable rights. However, when I can get what I need with a little work and not taking the easy way out I’m going to do it. I’ll continue to take my son to the garden and I’ll continue to teach him.

And one day he’ll ask, “daddy, where were you when the occupy movement was happening?”

I’ll say, “Right here – with you – occupying a garden.”

Reprinted from The Self-Sufficient Gardener with the author’s permission.