Seeing the glass jar labeled "Applesauce 10/07" in delicate handwriting reminded me of my Grandmother Bea and Grandfather John who lived on the harvest of their own bit of earth throughout my childhood in the 1970's. Though they lived in a house in the heart of a downtown area, they used the majority of their backyard for an abundant vegetable, fruit and flower garden. Grandma's kitchen always smelled of something cooking and she spent a lot of her time canning and freezing tomato jam, pickle relish, applesauce and sauerkraut. There was a cold corner of their basement reserved for the glass jars all labeled in her delicate handwriting.
My grandparents also had a deep-seeded respect for the land and an awareness of the need to recycle as much waste as possible. They had a compost pit, cleaned and re-used aluminum foil and plastic containers and all other available resources in an era before an organized government recycling program. In essence, they were green when it wasn't fashionable.
Today green is the new black. Everybody wants to "seem" green because it's the "in" thing, but how many of us are really willing, like my 87 year-old mother-in-law, to walk the talk? I can imagine the taste of a warm tomato fresh from the garden, its juice dipping down my chin as I bite into it like an apple. But why would I plant it, fertilize and water it for that pleasure when Whole Foods can sell me an organically grown version that tastes just as good? America's current economic recession may be the driving force for us to be as green as we now pretend to be. When we can no longer afford the organic produce at Whole Foods, I hope my grandparent's and my mother-in-law's pioneering spirits will inspire me to set aside a Bit of Earth to grow my own.