gardening is political

This is a crude old fashioned Australian revolutionary poster dating from the Cold War in the ‘fifties. This poster reminds me that gardening and growing our own food had, and still has, a political dimension.

Growing your own food has become a grassroots movement in both senses of the word. It encompasses community gardens and school gardens as well as private gardens. It can be seen as individuals and communities taking charge of their nutrition, instead of buying exclusively from large scale impersonal costly agribusiness and supermarkets.

Food growing is necessarily a business of course, and increasingly we can choose to buy from farmers markets, or local organic growers such as Eco-Organics near Auckland, New Zealand.

Here is an example from a recent newsletter of Eco-Organics:

I really do appreciate being able to supply you directly so that it’s extra fresh from the farm. It’s a great system; we get such good feedback and always love to hear from new people interested in the convenience of home delivery with the extra bonus of such unquestionable freshness. By cutting out the middleman the produce we grow ourselves would be at least 2-3 days fresher when it arrives at your place than anything just arriving at an organic outlet shop.

So now we can grow our own food if we’re lucky, and buy directly from small organic farmers, whom we know and trust.

Back to the poster. "Grassroots Defiance Against the Capitalist Diet" is not just about a need for fresh food. It is about the negative consequences that follow from homogoneous industrial food production, namely the commodification of food.

The Slow Food Movement
represents one type of contemporary defiance by promoting good food grown with respect - respect for local cultures and respect for the whole environment, which includes all life: humans, animals and plants.

(photos from Wikipedia)


  1. looks like people have been fighting the same fight for a long time now!

    Interesitng post - LOVE the poster!

  2. The Fairtrade, Organic and Guerilla Gardening movements all have their political sides as does the Allotment movement. Food is pretty important to people, and not everyone likes supermarkets.

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  4. I guess my food politics involves trying to applaud healthy, sustainable movements without pointing fingers (and possibly making myself a hypocrite) at less affluent people who are just trying to feed their families. I have the luxury of choosing, to some degree, where my food comes from; many people in the world would be happy with whatever food they could get, but their children go to bed hungry because it's still not enough.

  5. Good post makes you stop and think but how many of us grow food because we just like growing plants and it is another dimension of that.

  6. This seems to be something that is global!

  7. It's heartening to see home vegetable gardening becoming popular again. I hope it's not just another passing fad.

    There's nothing like the taste and nutrition of organic, home-grown vegetables and fruits.

  8. Great poster. I wish I were better at veggie gardening. The few things that I have success with never even make it to the table to share with my family...I eat string beans, sweet peas and tomatos in the afternoon sun. We are a fortunate people to be able to grow our own food!

  9. Growing your own food is sure empowering for all. Australia sounds a bit like America.


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