Inspired by William Bryant Logan‘s acclaimed book “Dirt! The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth”, Dirt! The Movie offers a fascinating look into the history and current state of the living organic matter that we call dirt. The film unearths our cosmic connection to soil and explores how diverse groups of people are uniting to save the natural resource. Dirt! exposes the serious environmental and social problems that occur when we mistreat our soil – “Drought, climate change, even war are all directly related to the way we are treating dirt” – but it also does an excellent job of offering solutions for how to heal our planet. The list of farmers, scientists, and activists who participated in this documentary is exceptional, and though the issues raised are critical, the movie will leave you feeling empowered to effect positive change.
Seriously – I just signed up to volunteer with Tree People (Andy Lipkis, founder of Tree People, is featured prominently in Dirt!).
So please, rent this movie. Buy the DVD. Invite some friends over to screen it, and have a discussion afterward. Then let me know what happens!
If you had asked me a few months ago whether I’d rather have wasps or caterpillars in my vegetable garden, I probably would have answered, “Caterpillars, obviously! They’re so cute, and they turn into butterflies.”
That answer would have inspired a fair amount of eye-rolling (and possibly even a spray of hose water in the face) from the experienced gardeners I know. Caterpillars, it turns out, are definitely not polite guests at a garden party – especially when it’s a tomato garden party. Having learned this the hard way, I can now confidently report that caterpillars such as the Tomato Horn Worm will unabashedly eat your tomatoes and then poop all over your garden.
Last year, my man and I bought our first home, a 1930s Spanish Revival bungalow that needed as much TLC as it had charm (and boy, was it ever charming). We spent the better part of 2010 renovating, and now, finally (praise be!), we are moving on to the yard.
Yard space was a huge requirement when we were house hunting—I’d trade inside space for outside space any old day—and I knew I wanted to achieve two things: Puppy Paradise in the back, and Garden of Eden (or at least, you know, a kitchen garden) in the front. Of course, this was going to take some doing. Especially since I’ve never so much as owned a potted basil plant, and don’t know the first thing about gardening.