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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Garden of Eden AND Eating

“Are you going to plant a garden?” Toni asked.

“In 2004, the very year we acquired the Land, we seeded our ½ acre test-plot prairie,” I replied.  “Then in 2007 we seeded our 40 acre high-diversity prairie, which is now coming into its own.  You should have seen it burn this year.”

Toni looked at me dumbfounded.  Yet I played on, refusing to submit to the intent of his question.  “Last week we planted 39 native trees and shrubs in a permaculture-inspired terrace I grubbed out of an eroded hillside.   Such a miracle that Linda’s new bionic hips could endure that grueling day on hands and knees.”  

I knew I wasn’t answering the question, but I couldn’t help myself.  “And today I dug in a sand-bed to plant a dry prairie garden.” 

At wits end now, Toni blurts out, “Aren’t you planting tomatoes or anything?”  Of course, I knew all along what Toni wanted to know:  Will we grow our own food?  Understandably, it's the official question you ask someone who moves to the country.   I must confess there is no Toni.  Or better put, I’ve met dozens of Toni’s who want to know if we’re planting a garden.   The answer I finally give goes something like this.

We might plant some tomatoes.  But our neighbors, Lonny and Sandy Dietz, operate an organic vegetable farm.  We get almost everything we need from them.   They grow better veggies, and far more varieties, than we could ever dream of growing.  AND we believe more in community-reliance than self-reliance.  It’s fun and engaging to go over to Lonny and Sandy’s.    And why not support my neighbor?  We look forward to planting apples, cherries, plums, hazelnuts and a number of edibles they don’t sell.  

So that’s the answer Toni finally gets out of me.  But, I’m embarrassed to admit, it’s not the “real” answer.  And today I want to apologize for holding out on you, for not confessing the deeper reason I’m not focusing on growing food.  And I need to say “I” here and not “we”.  While Linda may agree with me, she probably wouldn’t explain things as I do.    It was so challenging---and compelling---for me to understand, that I devoted 9 years of novel-writing discovery .    So rather than explain it, I offer this set of highly connected thoughts. I use “we” if I’m pretty sure Linda would say it this way.

We heal ourselves by healing the Land

I believe that the 10,000 year effort to feed humanity destroys humanity by destroying the earth we need.

I believe that as humanity moves from “humanity-focused” to “humanity AND earth-focused” it will feel like moving from adolescence to adulthood.

We plant our “garden” not just for us, but for us AND the Land.

If we feed us AND the Land, the Land will feed itself AND us.

I believe a MUCH better world is coming SOON.

The better world will be a revolution in Community-reliance, relying---for the first time in history---on both human communities AND earth communities.

Humanity can never return to its childhood, to the Garden of Eden.  I believe it is time to leave our adolescence, the Garden of Eating, and move into our adulthood, the Garden of Eden AND Eating.

By now, both you and Toni are probably wishing I’d stayed with the half-truth.  Can’t blame you.  This may be my craziest blog yet.  Or at least the blog where I shout out my craziness.  But I figured I better start coming out of the closet.  After all my novel, The Corridor, releases in 3 weeks on Amazon.  

Then you’ll discover how truly crazy Mike is!  Can I blame it on that stinging nettles frittata?


  1. 3 weeks and counting! The true Mike is not crazy...but transparent, thought provoking, and honest. Oh the many things we love about Mike!!!

    :) Heather

    1. And it would be a LOT more than 3 weeks away if it weren't for all your generous copyeditor effort!

  2. Once again you nailed it Mike ... you are able to articulate the half-formed thoughts that have been swirling in my head for so long. Dare we hope for the better world arriving SOON?

    Looking forward to the big book release!
    Diane Sweeney

    1. Thanks Diane. Really, really looking forward to a long conversation with you (and your like-minded friends) about this, the novel and where it all takes you.