Monday, April 20, 2015

The World’s Most Expensive Tomato, redux or, Yet another Metaphor for Education letter #43

Dear Governor Ducey,

It took me a year to convince him but finally Erik decided it was a good idea to build a garden box. We live in Flagstaff where the dirt is made out of rocks and volcanoes and where the deer, if you manage to get a green plant to grow out of your volcano, eat the fruits of that green plant. So Erik is building a garden box with a mesh fence and a door and it’s very made out of redwood which, though sustainably harvested, probably cuts into the do-goodingness of growing your own vegetables. Plus, I’m still remembering the guy on that Podcast I told you about, the one by Scott Carrier about the end of the world, and how you need an acre to feed a family of four and anyway, as the food supplies run out, you’ll also need a gun, this box is only five feet by ten feet and although I’m not a farmer, I’m pretty sure 50 square feet is not an acre.

Still. The box is very attractive and I have high hopes to plant peas and swiss chard, tomatoes and carrots. Maybe some spinach. Potatoes? I don’t know. It’s Flagstaff and therefore cold at night until May and sometimes it snows in July but with global warming, I think I might be able to pull a tomato out of this imported dirt.

This imported dirt is different dirt than the rock dirt. This dirt we bought from the store. It’s organic and smells like shit, purposefully. It cost $7 for 3 cubic feet of dirt. We need 33 bags of it. The garden box is 2 feet tall (100 cubic feet in the end. We need 33 bags of dirt for a total of $231. The sustainably grown redwood costs $10 a plank. We bought 24 of them. $240. 4 four by fours at $15 each=$60. Wire mesh: $28.47. Hinges: I don’t know. Erik’s still at the store buying those. The box costs about $560 which is more than the swing set we bought which is also made out of sustainably harvested redwood and from which I still have some stain in my hair to match the new stain in my hair from staining the garden box. We haven’t bought the seeds yet although at this rate, we’ll have to buy starter plants since the season is getting late.

Still, it seems worth it, this planting plan. It wasn’t super cheap but it didn’t cost as much as a car or a house and every year we should get some of our money back by not buying all our vegetables at the store. In the cost benefit analysis, putting some money in at the beginning, you reap the benefits for the rest of your days. If I could make explicit the metaphor then: state-supported tomatoes versus unimproved dirt. You cannot eat dirt. You cannot improve an economy without education.

No comments: