International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth
Will I have enough time?
This is the question I asked myself when the team of the agriculture committee of MIJARC Europe proposed the idea of the Grow It Yourself challenge. I would have to buy seeds, potting soil, put it all in pots and make sure that my plants get enough light but not too much, that I water them enough but not too much… I know today that most of us were wondering about these questions.
What we didn’t anticipate was that the date we had set for the start of our campaign (April 1) would be in the middle of the lockdown period.Not knowing how long the quarantine lasted, the anxiety that came with the global pandemic, teleworking days that all looked the same, with no interruptions from taking transport or going for a walk… All this has shaken our relationship to time. Spatial and social inequalities were compounded by temporal inequalities, between those who suddenly had nothing to occupy their days and those who found themselves with even more work, doubled by childcare.
In this context, gardening has emerged almost as a symbol of our questioning of our relationship to time. It is an activity that requires patience as well as a form of slowness. And as I watched my plants germinate, make leaves and then finally the vegetables appear, I became more and more comfortable with the idea that this totally new period we were living through had its advantages in the midst of chaos. For once, I wasn’t coming home from work so exhausted that the only mechanical gesture I was capable of was checking my smartphone.
I read, I watched old movies, I cooked and… I grew life. I hope you’ll forgive me for the possible mawkishness of that statement, but all the same, the quarantine brought me back to basics, and for that I am grateful.
The story of how I planted my own food for a social media challenge and started my dream of self-sufficiency
I have dreamt of planting my own food since I was a child, but the city lifestyle kept me from starting any concrete action. I was always wondering how to plant anything inside an appartment, if I would be able to take care of home plants and how it would work if I had to leave the place for a certain amount of time.
Then the Covid-19 crisis happened as long as the lockdown that went with it, and as for everyone, my plans have changed. So as I was certain to be home and to have time, I decided to join the “Grow It Yourself challenge” organized by MIJARC Europe and to plant green bean seeds at home and take care of the plant during the pandemic. I must say that when I saw how people were running from one market to another, buying everything in sight, the idea of self-sufficiency seemed all of a sudden particularly appealing to me. My green beans were a good place to start.
Taking care of beans
The very first thing to do was to make sure there would be enough humidity for the seeds to germ. I found the whole process described in a video onYouTube. When seeds were ready to be cultivated, I did a little digging and tilling. A couple of weeks later the leaves appeared. Some more care was needed. I asked my grandparents who live in the countryside for help and experience sharing. I got to say that observing the whole process of a plant growing everyday is quite amazing.
Enjoying the beans
A couple of days ago the harvest was ready. Of course, it was not much (you can see from the pictures how small my plant was). However, I got to prepare a meal with my own planted green beans and this felt special. I took the easiest way: boiling green beans in hot water, then adding garlic and salad greens to the main dish. The beans have been cleaned and washed, then the boiling process took about 30 minutes. Then I used garlic and salad greens to bring delicious taste.
Here is the main dish ready to be eaten. I personnaly think it looks delicious (and it was). Of course, I cannot cook this meal for a dinner with guests as I do not have enough beans, but it is good for one person.
Through this food planting process, I have learnt a lot. Now I am motivated to cultivate more green beans in the next spring, which will help me to share my food with others. I hope that my own experience will motivate others to plant their food. That’s an amazing feeling when you eat the food cultivated by yourself. I encourage young people to plant their own food and get ready to those amazing feelings. Bon appétit !