Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Conservative/Liberal, Christian/Pagan--Polarizing Views on Gardening

For a couple years now, there is a group of us in the area who get together each January to order seeds together. We are mostly conservative Christian homeschooling moms/families. We get to share some wonderful food, peruse catalogs, combine our orders to receive discounts, and share gardening strategies. By and large this group is also an "organic" group--doing our best to raise our families with healthy food and, as a means to that end, garden organically. We are all at different points in our health-food journey, but we all learn from each other and truly enjoy the fellowship.

Last week during a flurry of emails as we were trying to cement our orders, I was struck (as I have been a few times in the past) at the irony of this group ordering seeds from some catalogs that are quite obviously on the opposite end of the political, and most likely, religious spectrum. I feel somewhat responsible for this since I introduced the group to at least one of the most liberal catalogs, be that good or bad.

I have contemplated this whole matter quite often, actually, and it brought me to this point--while I agree with these seed companies on their safe seed pledge, it really bothers me that many of them seem to have completely OPPOSITE political leanings from me. It seems to me that in the natural food and organic gardening circles that there are 2 opposite political views and rarely a middle ground. Both are just as strong in their commitment towards natural food and organic gardening, etc. It seems to me that while those of us in the conservative Christian circles are viewing our food and gardening practices as a way to be stewards of what God has provided (our land, our bodies, our families), that the opposite end of the spectrum is searching for their god in the name of health/organics/etc. I don't think I'm finding the right words, but hopefully you can get an idea of what my line of thought is on this. I find it interesting that such polarizing views are brought together by the same means. Does this go beyond stewardship to an opportunity for discipleship? Hmmmm.

I would enjoy hearing others' views on this subject. And also your thoughts as to where this leads us.


Anonymous said...

Are you trying to start trouble like TCG?! lol.

For me personally, it starts with the qaulity of the company & product. If there's a quality company that shares my worldview, then great, they'll be my first choice! But I don't worry too much about it unless they are ridiculous. Like if Rosie O'donnell was to start selling seeds....I wouldn't by any.

So which catologs are terribly liberal?

The Conservative Gardener said...

BTW- I do believe the opportunity for discipleship is very important. Gotta' be salty!

April said...

Believe me, my fingers were trembling when I hit the post button--I am not by nature one who makes waves. :-) This was sticking my neck out quite a bit.

Well, TCG, let's see if I clarify what I was trying to say up there. I feel much the way you do regarding the quality of company/product. I'm not suggesting a boycott! I was making an observation of a situation that grabbed my attention and trying to find an explanation for it. It wasn't that many years ago that I thought Christians had the corner on gardening, homeschooling, or even good parenting! Oh, how naive I was in my tight little churchgirl circle. But I've branched out.

So now my little mind is trying to figure this out--wondering what drives people of very conflicting belief systems to have the similar concerns or interests, in this case a quest for "natural" food, for lack of a better term. It goes beyond seed catalogs. It includes the folks I run into while shopping at a local natural foods coop, of which both myself and the the openly pagan person and the lesbian couple in the next checkout lanes are all founding members. And it brings me to the question of what is my place in this as a Christian. Like I said, I'm not a wavemaker. I think of myself more as a "teach by example" and "they will know we are Christians by our love" person. All of this spurs me on to learn how God wants me to live out my Christian faith in this day to day world that IS so different from my cozy little sheltered churchgirl world where never a questionable word is spoken.

Well, I think I've made that about as clear as mud. :-) But hey, I love to garden... and that means messing around with quite a bit of mud.

Kristen said...

I'm with you. Of course, you knew that.

jhedeen said...

I think you did a good job. I've noticed that too. I go to Val's "co-op" in Decorah and it's way on the other side of my political leanings (actually most of the town is.) But they sure have good products. Val has a new adjective when she will call someone, "sort of a 'co-opy' person." And I know exactly what she means. I'm not sure how safe it would be to walk in there wearing certain of my t-shirts but they are very nice people to shop with.