A friend and I are growing a garden. Our plot is the middle one closest to the Science Center, where the goats used to be. Just yesterday, we turned and weeded the earth with a shovel and a hoe, hands and feet, getting to know the worms and marveling at the smooth clay of this Mississippi loam. Once all of it was turned, we mixed in a wheelbarrow-full of compost and topsoil, digging down again with our encrusted fingertips, veiling the whole garden with a rich layer of home and health. Then we shaped our two long rows into heaping beds, scooping a narrow path out of the center and building up from the sides. When the beds were prepared, in went the tomatoes, green peppers, Swiss chard, and sunflowers.

Our dear garden is an experiment; I’ve done a fair amount of farming and gardening, but I’m no expert. If no harvest comes out of the project – if all fails – I will have no regrets. I will have loved that earth, those plants, the sun and the rain, and I’ll be at least as enriched as the roots that feed my greens.

I hope someday to grow a large part of the food in my diet. That, I’ve come to believe, is the best way to ensure that what I eat aligns with my ideals – that by feeding myself, I’m not feeding an industry that exploits its workers and strips its land. When I grow my food, I know my food and I know the Earth. And by knowing the Earth, I know myself.