The buzz words of the 21st century are local and sustainable.
They represent a focus on practices that not only benefit our community but the planet we populate.
The terms apply to a lot of things, but food is one of the primary targets of the movement.
When I think of eating local, the first place that comes to mind is my own backyard. Sustainability is a matter of rotating crops, using organic materials to spur growth and the health of my back.
Thanks to winter taking the year off, which it earned after its 2011 performance, we are surrounded by various hues of green splashed with various hues of red.
Rain has been plentiful, which not only spurs growth but softens the relentless red clay into easy extraction. I dug a whole new flower bed last weekend, and my back hasn't barked a bit.
Bottom line: If you haven't ever planted herbs and/or vegetables, you're out of excuses. Watching seeds metamorphose into sustenance is an education for you and your family. Not only will it lower your grocery bills this summer, it will lend context to your life.
The sage plant in my backyard is now 8 years old. Watching it survive 2011's winter and summer with practically no spring in between is almost as miraculous as its living through my shoddy attempts at masonry to reinforce the earth surrounding it. Nevertheless, the sage's violet blossoms popped to life over the weekend as if to ask the atmosphere if that's all its got. And I was concerned over the heater and air conditioner running too much.
The amount of sage the bush offers could keep us in cornbread and stuffing for two lifetimes. When I consider how much this grown-man plant has to offer and how much it's been through, it makes me feel a little inadequate.
Now I've got a 3-year-old thyme plant and 1-year-old Italian parsley plant and Greek oregano plants to pile on. Looks like I'm going to have to get in better shape.
But inspiration is just one more thing our garden offers beyond something good to eat.