"Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it's liberty and interests by the most lasting bands." - Thomas Jefferson, 1785
TJ makes a pretty strong statement there. Are we gardeners truly the most valuable citizens?
We are surely vigorous. Gardeners turn soil, move hoses, bend to pick weeds, and carry harvest. Observing our plants and nature keeps us mentally fit.
We are surely independent. Many of us garden specifically to reduce our dependence on mass produced food.
We are often virtuous because the moral truth of the garden cannot be denied. The seeds sprout or not. The weather contributes rain or drought. Bees pollinate or flowers do not produce fruit. Gardeners persist with hope in spite of the challenges.
We are surely tied to our country. We work with the land the revolutionaries fought over.
Gardeners may not reflect deeply about the deeper meanings of our work in the day to day tasks of weeding, watering, and harvesting. To raise flowers and food is an act of liberty in any country, but particularly in America because the Founding Gardeners shaped the nation to make it possible.
From my garden to yours, happy Fourth of July!