Tuesday, July 12, 2011

other kinds of heroes, unassuming

I've been reading Oak Park Hates Veggies all morning, the blog of a woman in Oak Park, Michigan who is battling her city over her decision to plant vegetables in her front yard.  The family has been ticketed and fined, and goes to trial at the end of this month.  For growing vegetables in their front yard!

Given that we also replaced lawn with garden beds out here in the renegade badlands of Santa Venetia where pretty much anything goes -- and that I did have moments of wondering whether we'd get in trouble for that (of course not.  Anything goes, remember?) -- and just given my general obsession with anything home-farming related, it's natural I should take an interest.

But the thing is that I am enjoying reading her so much.  About herself, she writes, in a blog post titled "rosa parks i am not":

... this was so accidental, so unintentional. we just did our little thing on our little lawn in our little city- and here we are.  we never decided to “take a stand” or fight injustice or be held up as an example. i feel like what we did is so little in comparison to what really heroic people do that what we did is almost silly.
i think i am a good person. i am a loyal friend and a caring mom and hopefully a decent wife. but i’m so……….regular. there are so many truly wow people in the world- i don’t want to pose as one of them when i’m so not.
i am touched beyond words when people say nice things here and in other places about our family. i am awestruck at the outpouring of support and kindness from people who don’t even know us. i don’t want to downplay that one bit.
but at the end of the day, i am soooooo not wow. i am so astoundingly regular. i think our garden is great, but even the garden is pretty unimpressive in the greater scheme of things.  i think people should have a right to grow food. i think people need to take more responsibility for the choices they make. i think more people need to think before they act. i think governments, large or small, should not be allowed to ride roughshod over their citizens. i think power should never trump truth. but there are so many people out there who are really fighting and really suffering and being truly heroic- they are living these principles when i am just sitting here in my air-conditioned den and blogging about them.
i just want to be clear: i am not rosa parks or gandhi or mother theresa. not even close. i am just me.
And just her, not Rosa Parks or Mother Theresa, planted what is a really modest starter veggie garden.  It's four beds, mulch in between, tidy, modest.  No big deal, no great shakes.  Actually, what it is is totally accessible.  Some people who've never gardened will look at it and think, "Oh, that's it?  I can totally do that."  It's right out there, in front of the house, not as a provocation, but because that's what worked.  It's small-scale, do-able for regular folks.  It is exactly what municipalities should be encouraging rather than attacking.  Crazy, silly Oak Park: what an unfortunate tempest in a little tiny teacup, leaving city officials looking like utter asses.

If you are so inclined, there's a Facebook page to Like, as a way of showing support, and also a petition hosted by Care2.

Heroes are made, whether they want it or not, sometimes out of the most unlikely characters.  Julie and family in Oak Park: it's your turn!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

um, wow- i am flattered and honored. what a nice post! :) -julie (bass)