Grow some food in your backyard, and fight hunger in poor nations by taking pressure off the world’s limited amount of arable land. Fight the starvation of the soil while you’re at it, too, by refusing to do business with industrial farmers who have no respect for the earth. Instead, grow it yourself on compost. Fight the greenhouse gas emissions caused by conventional farming that are unsettling the climates of many of the most desperate places on earth. Grow it yourself without a drop of oil.
Fight the malnutrition in the inner city that’s imposed by those supermarket chains that refuse to locate there. Fight it by growing better food on an urban farm. Fight it by giving seedlings and advice to potential gardeners. Fight urban blight, too, with one power you don’t have to be rich or famous to possess: the power to reshape a piece of ground and make something beautiful come out of it.
Fight against the impoverishment of your rural town by joining forces with your neighbors to grow wonderful food. Feed local restaurants. Win stars from food critics. Become a food destination.
Fight the visual poverty of the suburbs by ripping up the sod and planting a garden. Fight middle-aged spread with your backyard labor. Fight diabetes and cancer and heart disease, too. Fight your kids’ slack muscles and pasty skin by sending them out into the sun with a flat of seedlings to plant.
Fight against your own shrinking financial prospects by turning a handful of $1.50 seed packages into a parade of gorgeous vegetables. Fight against the financial system that has taken such advantage of you by simply dropping out of it for a few hours a week, just to weed and dig.
Fight spiritual poverty, too. Fight that alienation creeping into your teenager’s eyes. Make sure he understands that miracle of exploding growth that is a well-managed vegetable garden. Fight your own creeping sense of futility with the abundant proof the vegetable garden offers that your efforts have meaning.
Fight the ugly, the flavorless, the cheerlessly industrial, the unimaginative, the stingy. Make your table groan with the bounty of nature. Cook that bounty in enough olive oil and salt to be able to taste the sun in it. Eat it with the people you love and an interesting stranger or two. Feel that sunlight radiate outwards through every pore.