By Paul Myers
–Piece originally published in the Gibsons Farm Collective newsletter–
Every niche in society does it. In lieu of crude truths we speak euphemisms. For instance, we do not say outright much anymore that someone has “died.” That’s too blunt, too unsympathetic by half. Instead we say they “passed away” or worse, “entered their rest.” The military has perfected the art of not saying what they are saying. Civilians who get killed are called “collateral damage”, while carefully aimed bombing is a “surgical strike.” The corporate world is another niche that uses a host of benign terms to shroud darker realities. "Correction" means the shareholders are not going to get what they signed on for. "Outsourcing" means employees at home are going to lose their job to cheap labour abroad. And anything with the word "green" in it usually means they have a creative public relations department. Yet another term is "redundant", which applies to those who found out one day that they had a doppelgänger in the company doing what they already do, making them expendable.
As to the latter, I'm hoping someday that Brookbank Farm – and me with it – becomes redundant. You heard me correctly: I want you to be my doppelgänger. Please, take my job away. You see, in the Edenic world of my mind, everyone has a garden of their own, where they grow food for themselves, plus a bit more for those cannot.
Of course I know that for the time being I am perfectly safe from unemployment. But why not add to your diet some food of your very own? It’s not so daunting to do, truly, and it does not take much time or space. Call it your Personal Victory Garden. Grow a bit, and sense your small victory over supermarket servitude! And if you are already doing it, then perhaps you could add one more corner. It is amazing the quantity and diversity of food that can be grown in the most humble of spaces.
Last week I went to visit my pal Jay, where I got a sudden renewed rush of hopefulness for my own unemployment. I squinted my eyes. Impossible! But no, it was not an illusion. I saw tomatoes growing. I know, “no big deal” you say. Well it’s not…but wait a sec, it is, because Jay does not have any garden space and would not ever want one. He is the archetypal city-dwelling, career white collar worker, lifelong bachelor living in a modest apartment and dedicated in his free time to sports and more sports. Do you see this picture? Work, hockey, beer, more work. No, Jay would not like to garden. But he does love tomatoes, thanks to a Mom who spoiled him as a kid on the real ones. Friends, those few pots on his balcony, with those plants that needed some pruning and tying up, and Jay beaming…well, it felt like my redundancy was finally drawing near.