one of my all-time favorite TED talks was given by roger doiron of KGI. for those of you who aren’t familiar, TED conferences bring together speakers who have totally “wow!” ideas and you can access many of their talks on you-tube, as well as in other places (we watched a bunch of them on netflix).

roger very elegantly taps into the idea that food is power. he calls his talk “subversive plots”. and he refers, interestingly enough, to garden plots…

we all know that food is fuel, but he is talking about more than that. he explains that food is power not only over your diet, but also over your health, your wallet, and a vast amount of resources. right now the power over our food is concentrated in a very few very large corporations. that’s not conspiracy lunacy; that’s just fact. if you look at the packages of the gazillions of choices in your average supermarket, you will see that most of them actually come from the same few places. regardless of what it is and what it appears to be, the few giants are really holding all the cards. and that should scare you just a bit. okay, maybe it should scare you more than a bit…

growing your own food shifts the balance of power back into your own hands. it gives you back a measure of control. it may not be popular in some circles, but hey, sometimes great ideas take a while to catch on…

it’s very interesting that we think we have freed ourselves from the “drudgery” of food prep. we can just whisk into a drive-through and get what we want within minutes. we can order up a holiday feast at the deli counter of almost any grocery store. we can get food frozen, pre-cooked, pre-sliced, pre-seasoned, pre-everything except pre-chewed (gosh i hope that doesn’t come next…)- but in divorcing ourselves from our food we have also given over our power to someone else.

because now they really control my sodium intake and my dietary fats and my other health concerns, (not in the sense that i have to eat what they sell, but in the sense that if i buy their products i put my faith in them to regulate how much of this or that is really in each bite or portion i have…) and the cleanliness of my food and the supply of my food and the freshness (or lack thereof) and so many other things…  if my fridge is empty and my pantry is bare and i have no food put up or canned or laid by then i am at the mercy of the industrial food system to meet my needs and the needs of my family.

and i will promise you that they are not reading the latest articles about medium-chain versus long-chain fatty acid metabolism to figure out which is best for my family. they are not trying to choose each ingredient carefully with love. they just want to crank out cheap food fast and for maximum profit. and well they should because that is their job.

and safeguarding my family’s health and safety is my job.

and this is why i fight for my power.

i don’t fight to overturn the industrial food system (at least not yet 😉  ) because right now it has its place. but i sure as heck believe that my garden plot, subversive though it may be, is my best chance at helping to feed my family right. this is why i believe so much in the garden spring project, started by dynamic dave (

says roger doiron, “Ultimately, what’s needed is for more people to join the garden movement. Unlike other, less sanguine plots that rely on secrecy, this one can only succeed if it’s shared as broadly as possible. So, next season, don’t just grow a garden- commit to growing a new gardener as well. And even if you don’t have land of your own, you can still be part of the solution by sourcing your food from local growers. Together, we can reclaim power over our food and our health, one subversive plot at a time.”

amen to that!