Where are we now

29 January 2017

It's been a little over a year since the last blog post was written. Some updates were posted in our Facebook and Instagram accounts during that period. But apart from that, 2016 was mostly a year of quitting jobs, changing cities/countries and personal introspection and the usual life events. Shaping up and whittling down of our grand ideas were also in order. Our original salvo of thoughts for Grow Organics are still what has pushed us through all this time, with the Manifesto published before - save for some tweaks - largely still guiding our actions even unintentionally. Albeit we move at a glacial pace with this website, our offline endeavors actually proved to be more interesting. We managed to set up 2 raised garden beds and actually planted seeds, nurtured plantlings, harvested fruits and leaves, cooked them lovingly and happily ate the vegetables! It was not a lot and not even consistent, but we proved to ourselves that despite our crazy schedule and full-time jobs, planting at this little space at the front of our house and growing our own food within the city is doable. I will post pictures when I can compile them.

In trying to figure out all these food growing and urban gardening issues, we had to get off YouTube and actually consult with other more knowledgeable people, real-time. We eventually met more local growers and passionate urban gardeners who are so so inspiring and very creative! Interacting with them and other like-minded people is actually the impetus that is urging us to get on with our program now already. But we have to seriously account for how much we can propel Grow Organics realistically into the vision that we were aiming for. Realizations along the way have been plentiful, humbling yet also exciting.

Recalling back through the plant-growing experiences, I was always so much more energetic with the harvesting for food preparation and the cooking part. But being an architect, planning the garden initially and how we wanted our plants laid out was fun. However implementing it on the ground and keeping the plants well and thriving were really the challenges. I am hoping now, we can make it more systematic so it becomes easier for us. And for me, that is an important end goal - to make it a little bit 'easier' or more manageable at least, for individual growers to start and maintain their vegetable gardens, whether with their families or communities.

It also became crystal clear how food plays a very important role in our daily lives. Only, that we have taken this for granted for quite some time now, mainly relying on convenience and how instantly our modern food is made. However, in the city that we are at now, we are lucky that a few are are still in touch with the nature of fruits and vegetables and are mindful of how they cook and eat. Yet in the face of instant gratification-fast foods and rich, gourmet dishes in fancy restaurants, it must be a daily and conscious decision to go for the natural and healthier food options. As an urban planner, I can deeply appreciate the scenario when food and its regenerative production within will play a central role in designing not only cities of the future, but in the places where we live now. It can be as ambitious as an institutional Food committee or Council to be the norm in every urban center or as modest as having a patch of vegetable garden in a sidewalk.

But we still live in our present situations and that we have to deal and work with. Until we have reached what the admirable architect Carolyn Steel described as 'Sitopia', or literally a 'food place', we will strive to do the best we can to improve our own growing methods, routines and eating habits. Hopefully we also get to do our side interests while we are at it. For GO, this means we will whip it up a bit more to lay in a coherent manner all our jumbled ideas and whatnots. Connecting with other initiatives will certainly be more enjoyable too. If there is on thing that will serve as my take-away for the past year, it is that: continue to find out what you love doing and just face the next day, even weeks or months with the purpose of doing it again. And again.