A Lifestyle of Kindness, a Lifestyle of Less
Compassionate gardening orbits around environmental, animal, insect, and human-friendly food production. While the phrase, ‘compassionate garden pest control’ may seem strange, it’s really just basic respect-in-action for life in all its magnificent forms – birds, bunnies, bees, bugs, cats, dogs, and whomever else may fly, hop, crawl, or trot into your food garden. It’s much more than just reducing insect damage to your plants – it’s cultivating your garden as a friendly habitat for these amazing creatures.
Copper taping keeps slugs away without hurting them. No need to drown or burn their tiny, soft bodies. Bees are beneficial in your garden and necessary for global survival. Don’t swat at one when he comes buzzing around. Birds can be discouraged with the use of bird balloons. Fencing keeps bunnies out of the lettuce patch.
I always plant extra greens for the bunnies anyway, because let’s be real, compassionate gardening is not about eliminating hungry wildlife from your food garden, but reducing their visits without harm.
My husband and I share our garden food with neighbors. We bring it to work to share with colleagues. I give some to friends. This summer, I’m going to see if the Granby food bank is accepting fresh veggies. This is all part of the compassion practice.
I solemnly believe that minimalism is another component of compassionate gardening. Minimalism is reducing consumption and collection in order to free yourself up for action. Minimalism is a simple concept of owning less, which frees your time to do more. By freeing yourself, you spend less money and time working to maintain a space and lifestyle.
For example, if I spend my time shopping for clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets, phones, computers, and everything else business interests tell me I must have (but in fact I don’t need), I leave less time for cultivating the garden and producing food for myself, family, neighbors, friends, and others. Less friendly habitat for wildlife. Fewer plants from which bees can scoop up pollen.
Here’s a good resource for information on minimalism:
Also, www.theminimalists.com is an interesting site on the subject.
And here, if you feel a little jittery about minimalism, is an easy 7-step way to give it a try: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/sample-living-with-less/
Many minimalists commit to owning no more than 100 things. Imagine a life where ‘things’ are pretty irrelevant.
Check in with your heart. Drop the urge to take more for yourself. Free up time to do, not take. Garden with kindness. Live with compassion. Everything about it is good, good for you, and good for the world.
Less is so much more.