One thing folks seem to misunderstand about conservatives is that we are not antisocial shack-dwellers who fire off a few warning shots for anyone who dares tread on our property. Well, not all of us, anyway.
Conservatives aren’t against being a part of diverse, vibrant communities. We’re simply against government coercion compelling us to participate or fund too much beyond the basics.
We also aren’t against charity and helping our neighbor, whether literal or figurative. We are, however, against being forced to do so by the state (who serves as both a miserably inefficient middle man in the transaction and a hitman who will ensure compliance under pain of imprisonment or property seizure).
So, when the idea of hunger in America comes up, what is the conservative answer?
It’s a very real problem, very much worth exploring and addressing, and contrary to leftist thought, simply throwing more foodstamps at folks doesn’t necessarily help.
An increasingly popular weapon in the fight against hunger in America is the community garden.
Here in upstate New York, I’m seeing these gardens pop-up here and there, and always through the work of churches or groups of private individuals. While our local governments continue to fork over tax money to crooked property developers and build dog parks, ordinary people are getting their hands dirty to feed themselves and others. It’s a beautiful thing, and no level of government whatsoever has had a hand in it.
If you went purely off a couple of videos Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted to social media, however, you might get the impression that she practically invented or somehow revolutionized the community garden concept.
And, of course, she takes the perfectly wonderful idea of a public or private patch of land where neighbors work alongside each other to produce food and smacks it around with a little intersectionality.
In the video, AOC onstantly referred to the 4-square-foot community garden (yes, four square feet. Enough for four or five tomato plants, or two zucchini, or maybe a small patch of sweet corn) she started on the roof of her Washington, DC apartment building as though she’d invented or somehow revolutionized the concept.
I have to wonder if anyone has told her that four square feet is not enough to grow vegetables for a small family, let alone a community of any size. She is essentially being applauded for starting her own tiny garden.
Happy Sunday! Excited to say I’m tending to a community garden plot for the next few months 🙂
It’s a 4×4 plot we get to tend to now through Sept.
Any green-thumbs out with sage🌱 words of advice?
What should I plant? (Ideally at least 1 edible thing but we can do flowers too)
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 7, 2019
Now, to be clear, one silent rule I observe in gardening is not to mock the missteps of the novice gardener. I remember trying to start seeds in baby food jars with the lids on in my late teens.
We should all give AOC a pass on the diminutive dimensions of her garden. In fact, her updates show it to be growing quite nicely.
Garden planting success!
This is my first time trying a garden like this, so let’s see how it goes. Shoshin approach.
Big ups to Ginkgo Gardens for giving me lots of guidance this morning 🌻
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 7, 2019
However, when she starts imposing intersectionality and implying that certain crops are unfit for certain “cultural contexts”, that’s where I step off.
“What I love too is growing plants that are culturally familiar to the community. It’s so important,” AOC said on a stroll through the Bronx, stopping to peep through the fence of a community garden in the area.
And, you know what? She has a fair point there and notes that a garden in a predominantly white area might not enjoy growing plantains or even know how to cook them (again, giving her a pass on her apparent ignorance of the fact that tropical fruit trees like the plantain ain’t gonna survive in most U.S. hardiness zones).
But, then, she just careens off the reservation and into vague Green New Deal talk.
“That is such a core component of the Green New Deal is having all of these projects make sense in a cultural context,” she stated, “and it’s an area that we get the most pushback on because people say, ‘Why do you need to do that? That’s too hard.'”
“But when you really think about it—when someone says that it’s ‘too hard’ to do a green space that grows Yucca instead of, I don’t know, cauliflower or something—what you’re doing is that you’re taking a colonial approach to environmentalism, and that is why a lot of communities of color get resistant to certain environmentalist movements because they come with the colonial lens on them.”
Whoa, nelly. Just a little bit too woke for me. Sure, growing cauliflower in a community predominantly made up of folks who aren’t used to cauliflower might make sense in light of the plantain analogy previously given, but a colonial approach? Seriously?
The fact that cauliflower is cheap, easy to grow, and loves growing seasons in climates like my and AOC’s homeland of New York (unlike yucca, of which only certain varieties will even grow in areas like the Bronx and is certainly more expensive and temperamental) is irrelevant, apparently. Let’s instead snuff out any latent racism that might be lurking in our seemingly benign gardening practices and waste community resources on plants that aren’t fit for our climate.
But, then, the climate is changing anyway so maybe global warming will lend all the plantain-lovers in Zone 6 a hand.