White People Like to Grow Their Own Food

Farmers markets and vegetarianism aren’t enough for white people. They have to grow their own, even if they grew up with a disdain for home gardening as something taken straight from victory gardens and American Gothic. Growing your own food starts out innocently enough by shopping for organic food at Whole Foods and co-ops, recycling bags, and gathering up used grounds for compost with each visit to the local coffee emporium. Some white people who grew up in the 60’s remember sorting out the seeds from their marijuana on the jacket cover of a long-playing record album and talking up a Whole Earth Catalog lifestyle before moving into investment banking and the practice of law.

The 80’s led to an affection for multiple forms of fresh basil, easily enough grown from pre-seeded kits purchased at Smith & Hawken, the only garden shop which dare show its face at upscale malls. From that simple step, it was a downhill slide to Vermont Bean Seed Company and Territorial Seed Company, mail-order seed companies tailor-made for white people who snickered at the gingham-shirted Ma and Pa Kettle kinds who had to settle for buying their garden seed from places like Henry Field’s Seed & Nursery or Earl May.

Before long, it wasn’t just a matter of being green or organic. Or saving money. Before long, the notion of heirloom tomatoes wasn’t even the point. It was pure back-to-the-land, yielding up bragging rights more valuable than the crop of tiny pink, white, and orange tomatoes which white people, posing as Lady Bountiful, now can foist off on others less privileged, chiming in smugly that these tomatoes were grown right from seeds harvested from last year’s crop.


4 comments on “White People Like to Grow Their Own Food

  1. billiem says:

    Jennifer, you crack me up. Fortunately I’m saved from getting too deep in the dirt because I don’t have any dirt to grow stuff in except a few pots.


  2. Steve Cotton says:

    There were, of course, we kids who sold seeds (probably Burpee’s) door-to-door. Seeds with no more caché than the subscriptions to Collier’s or The Saturday Evening Post we would be selling the next week. We planted our half acre garden with seeds from the local feed store. No chi chi gardeners we. We voted for Eisenhower and ate slabs of beef with lettuce, corn, and strawberries from our garden. Not out of Grant Wood — and certainly not Edward Hopper. Perhaps just a subtle touch of Rockwell. At times I wonder if TS Eliot remembered where he came from?


  3. I take stern issue with this stereotyping of white people. If we dig deep enough I am sure we will find something with the faint mal odor of racism.
    You may be hearing from my lawyer. Watch yourselves.


  4. All right, if being a WhitePerson offends you, find something you like at http://staringatstrangers.typepad.com/staring_at_strangers/2008/05/stuff-people-re.html


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