Happiness Formula - Hard+Work = the Thrill of Victory, Credit+Debt = the Agony of Defeat

As Edward Abbey said, “If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.” Like many of Abbey's words, these too get truer as time marches on.

Many folks are re-discovering the simple formula: Hard+Work=the Thrill of Victory Nothing beats hands on, mud under your fingernails, gardening when it comes to hard work and the thrill of reaping what you've sown into the ground you've sweated over preparing, then weeded occasionally, fretted over occasionally and are now carrying up to the kitchen to feed to your family. It is the highest high i've ever known.

Another formula Abbey's quote also illustrates is that:Credit+Debt=the Agony of Defeat. There is an incredible bounty of healthy food and triumphant feelings to be had but the fact is that it also takes incredible ingenuity to find good land that can be gardened/farmed without incurring massive debt to buy it. It's a dilemma, to live Abbey's American Dream means finding a way around a massive mortgage so that each step forward isn't undermined by debt's demands.

There are tried and true solutions from bank robbery to indentured servitude that have at certain times in certain places worked to allow some folks to avoid the dilemma of debt's demands, one that's gaining popularity globally is the Land Trust. A Land Trust is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to the long-term protection of natural and/or cultural heritage. A land trust may own land itself, or it may enter into conservation covenants with property owners to protect or restore natural or heritage features on the owner’s land.

Everywhere, including here in BC, different groups are evolving ways for the older generation to pass on their land to younger, stronger folks in exchange for the older folks enjoying their remaining years through supported living on the farm. A covenant that's a sorta new-wave indentured servitude eh. There's no doubt that as many of us baby-boomers will be forced into making the type of choice that, if the banker's advice is heeded, leads inevitably to the next generation on the horns of the debt demands dilemma.

Maybe one day the Land Trust concept will combine with the local food movement in a collaborative effort to build a more locally based, self-reliant food economy to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of our communities. They could be part of the solution to the corporate control of local purchasing and local economies. Nothing is more local than your backyard though. It takes zero carbon emissions to turn over the garden beds in preparation for fall.

Right now it's just past the fall equinox, time of the harvest moon and garlic planting. For me re-planting the garlic each fall is a positive postulate, a statement, supported by the work needed to prep the area as part of the yearly rotation of the garden.After saving of some the best bulbs from the mid-July's harvest for re-planting, this fall's work will bear fruit again next mid-summer - Victory Through Vegetables