Travelling interstate recently, I stayed with a friend. We had a tour of her garden and I spied the vegetable garden. For the first time in ages, dinner was provided fresh from the garden. It smelt so good. It tasted so good. It was a complete contrast, to my dilapidated plot at home.
A gnarled old artichoke that would look more at home on a salt lake sits amid my neglected herb garden. Also resident is a rampant boysenberry vine with withered berries, just hanging on. Down the hill and away from the garden, we catch yabbies, mulberries are picked from an old tree in a paddock, and figs near the well.
While there are healthy food sources on the farm, there is not enough to sustain a family. The irony is not lost on me. As a grain growing farmer, I grow food and yet I don't have a productive vegetable patch, and am not self sufficient. Most of my groceries are wrapped in plastic and come from Coles. Many of my female friends have similar experiences, working off farm to provide extra income, returning home tired, to what may or may not be a comfortable home. Garden gurus tend to be slim on the ground. Costa Georgiadis and Peter Cundall, where are you?
I don't have a solution to this dilemma and while there are clearly differences, urban and regional families have more in common than people might think. If only we could hurry up and slow down, if only we didn't need so much stuff.