Urban Roots

17 Apr

Internet surfing is a favourite past time for me these days. Of course this activity too contributes to global warming  and yes , therefore I really do not have any moral right to  preach too much. My only defence is that I’m going slow on many other things that could add up to the carbon footprints that  I would be leaving behind me. I don’t want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to curse me for the environmental degradation that they may have to face because of the thoughtless and inconsiderate ways we have been going about our lives.

Well, I came across this video on “Urban Roots” , which is a project that has been taken up by the citizens of Detroit , which  used to be a big industrial hub at one time. They’re growing vegetables and stuff in empty patches and abandoned plots. School children are joining in after school hours. The aim is to make fresh homegrown stuff available for local consumption using sustainable methods of farming.

The video reminded me of the little kitchen garden patch I used to have a long time ago in the backyard of the rented accommodation where we then lived. I had planted tomato saplings there and in no time , there was a lushy green little jungle with the slender stems all intertwined with each other and leaning on the thin bamboo strips I had  pushed into the ground  here and there in between the plants for providing support.

Invariably, the first thing I did on waking up was to step outside and smell the “tomatoish” scent of that patch. And then the small little yellow flowers presented themselves. A few days later, the petals withered and small green knobs showed up in the centre of each flower . How delightful it was to watch them grow slowly bigger in size. How zealously one tended to them, picking off the dead leaves , digging up the soil around the roots, watering them regularly and spraying them a couple of times .  I made sure that the small wooden gate at the back was kept closed at all times so that no straying cow could get in and finish them off as one solid meal.

My heart literally sang when the green , plumpy fruits reached their prime. Their luscious youth made them blush and the colour gradually deepened . From then on, on a daily basis , I would pluck a kilo or more of fresh red tomatoes from my very own garden , grown by my very own hands. Not the richest , reddest , pulpiest tomato that you buy from the market can ever, ever be equal to the taste of something , whose process of becoming , you have contributed to with care and affection. Of course it was affection..even the act of eating it was an act of love, appreciating each morsel of it, as it were…in total awareness.

I would so love to be part of something like “Urban Roots”. It’s not a bad thing to emulate. May be the best bet yet against days of food shortage and spiralling prices. Some day..I must have that little patch  to plant tomatoes again:-)


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