Everything feels political these post-truth days – if you search the phrase “gardening as a political act” you will discover no end of articles talking up vegetable growing as an avenue of resistance. You may even come across “Gardening is Gangsta” a Texan rotary-hoeing rap crew’s call to community gardeners world-wide to opt-out of the financial-military-industrial complex and plant more cilantro.
And I get it, but I feel like gardening’s so much bigger than identity politics. I’ve felt the awakening and seen it happen in others; out of nowhere, an undeniable drive, a gnawing need to plant and grow things, to compost and make fertile the earth.
And there’s nothing like planting lettuce seeds into damp autumn soil, watching green first leaves emerge after rain, watering and weeding and then one morning finding your now empty salad bed criss-crossed by slimy snail trails to cruelly remind you that we are all one; blood & bone, shell & feather, in this life together.
OK so the point of all this is that CERES has produced its first ever book based on the hugely popular Complete Urban Farmer Course, written by the hugely popular Justin Calverley who also teaches said course. It’s written for that moment you feel the gardener’s sap rising irresistibly but don’t know what to do with these new feelings.
You may know Justin as Digga from Triple R’s gardening show Dirty Deeds,he and The Urban Farmer are one and the same. More than anyone I know Justin lives and breathes soil, seeds, compost, pruning, bees, chickens, fruit trees and his talent is sharing what he’s learnt. He’s also climbing trees in his forties so you can tell he’s one of the good ones.