growing, cooking, eating, and thinking…
Leave the soil better than you found it.
This is one of the fundamental rules of organic gardening, and an easy one to apply when gardening in the suburbs. As lawns are still a significant status symbol in the Midwest, and they are managed with heavy use of chemicals, improving upon that is easy. All the waste from the garden goes into the pile unless it infected by pathogens or contains seeds of plants I don’t want to spread. The practice of composting is related to several aspects of my research: it is a crucial step toward establishing healthy urban gardens, and it greatly reduces the impact of food and agricultural wastage. It is also symbolic of the continuous need to recycle ideas and create a growing medium using past seasons’ waste. Scholarly work requires cutting and repurposing old and overgrown ideas, with the hope that new ones might grow from them in an organic way.
The picture was taken specifically for this project, as I had just finished spreading last year compost and was ready to turn this year’s pile over. It is somewhat symbolic of the place where I am now in my research. Some work has been done, but the fruits of it will not be visible until summer. Data in the raw need to be sifted and turned over, and new research projects will start. There is no depth to the picture: the haziness of the late fall day in which I took the picture nods to my uncertainty about a bright future ahead.
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