Steps on the Pathway of Service.

One of the most powerful things we can do to challenge the status quo of our fossil fuel addicted world is to grow some of our own food. And it's good for our health as well.

Most of us buy most of our food at the supermarket. Just imagine where your supermarket potato comes from. It was probably grown on an industrial sized farm, somewhere in Britain. The seed potato was planted with a machine that runs on fossil fuels. It was sprayed against pests and diseases, with petrochemicals, using another machine that runs on diesel. It was harvested with yet another machine that runs on fossil fuels. It was then bagged up and shipped to a factory where it was cleaned and put in a plastic bag, made with more petrochemicals. It was then transported in a lorry to a warehouse and from the warehouse to the supermarket, and from the supermarket, in your car, to your home. Every step along the way involves crude oil.

If, however, you plant your own potatoes in your own garden, and resist the temptation of spraying them with anything, this use of fossil fuel is reduced to zero, especially if you plant seed potatoes that you have saved from last year's crop.

I'm still very much an reluctant beginner when it comes to gardening. The only crop that I had any success with last year was potatoes, and I didn't save any for seed. But for several weeks there, no fossil fuels were involved in the potatoes my husband and I consumed. And they tasted great as well. Last year's very first crop of potatoes. Fossil fuel use close to zero.

My reluctance in gardening comes from my total lack of experience, and a series of dead plants in my past. I have to pluck up my courage to get out there and do the work. And having to force myself out just makes things harder, and I end up doing less in the garden than I would like.

And then, a couple of days ago, a little miracle happened. The sun was out. It was actually warm outside, early in March, and I could just feel the sunshine draw me. I followed my body's cues and dropped my indoor spiritual practice for some time outdoors, followed by some concentrated gardening. The  four small vegetable beds are now fed with a good layer of compost, ready for this year's potatoes, and hopefully some successful peas and beans.

I am looking forward to more of those days. More occasions where I listen to what my body wants to do. More times of being guided by what is going on out there in Nature to the things that need doing. More connection with the soil that feeds us all.

I can feel that it is good for me in so many ways. My body gets stronger and more alive. My mind comes to rest. My soul is satisfied. And when it comes to harvest time, so will my tummy.

What are your experiences? What got you over the beginner's nerves? We'd love to hear.