I love the idea of a White House vegetable garden, as described in this article about the resurgence of vegetable gardens. I’m sure they could have a red/white/blue theme, even in vegetables. It’s intriguing that overall gardening sales are down but vegetable and herb gardening sales are up. Where are all those flower gardeners and yardeners going? The article itself is a little disjointed–I didn’t see a cohesive narrative so much as a couple of glimpses of current trends and the writer’s thoughts–but the information is interesting.

I’m glad vegetable gardening is getting more popular, though not terribly surprised; I imagine it will continue doing so as long as current economic problems last. But popular is good. For one thing, it means more seeds and plants and other products available to me in stores. For another, I suspect it’s better for the people doing the vegetable gardening.

(I also love the idea of dissecting a smoker’s lung. I dissected an owl pellet and a spiny dogfish shark in sixth grade. Those were fun too, but an actual human lung? Extremely cool.)

Michael Pollan weighed in on that last. I wholeheartedly agree that getting people to garden is more than getting them to do something about their food supply: it shows them that a little work and care on their part will provide them with some of the most basic necessities of life, that nature really works, that their own small actions really can make a difference. I felt that last year. I’m starting to feel it this year. In today’s atmosphere of recession and climate change and manufactured-goods-are-poisoning-us and general worry, feeling I have the skills and power to make a difference–in my own life and in the good of the world–means a lot to me.

I bet it would mean a lot to others, too. I find myself wanting to proselytize people around me to gardening. And if they grow their own vegetables I won’t be able to unload my excess produce on them, so it can’t be for selfish reasons. I think it’s this: I’d like to share the victory inherent in bringing up a plant and harvesting food from it. Everyone needs a little victory in their lives.