Back in the day, I was involved in many protests. I chanted during Take Back the Night. I crouched in a locked cage with other Amnesty members. I sat at petition tables. I went to anti-war rallies. I could always be counted on to show up for any progressive social cause. I kinda got off on it. It felt exciting and subversive. A lot of people would say I am pretty quiet, but I loved shouting with other people. It felt powerful to be protesting in a group, and if people ignored us, it was almost better. Then we could feel lofty and martyred, like we were so much more evolved than everyone else. I felt connected and strong.
I don’t go to many protests anymore, although I still think they can be an important form of social action. As I was shredding carrots for dinner today, I thought about all of the marches and how I really wanted to feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. Part of a revolution.
Then, I considered the carrots and how hard Franklinton Gardens worked to plant and harvest them before organizing a produce stand and finally being able to sell them to our neighbors. Growing and making things ourselves is such an arduous process. I get so frustrated by even how long it takes to chop up fresh vegetables and make a meal from scratch, let alone wait for our garden to produce the vegetables. Never mind the environment and the health of our neighbors. When it comes to making a difference, part of me wants to show up and march for a couple hours and be done.
But as it turns out, this is the revolution. Carrots and community. This is the just cause I was always waiting for. It is growing food, riding bicycles, loving people, living simply.
It feels quiet. It feels tedious, like hard work. It feels like there should be chants and people watching. It feels like a prayer.
It wasn’t what I expected. I think I always figured that I would be superficially involved with all of the big causes that I cared about in college. Maybe I would show up to local meetings or send checks every once in awhile. I thought I would be one of the fashionably political liberal academics, and I guess that I still try to be. But somewhere along the way my hands got (at least a little) dirty and what seemed important shifted.
So what do you do when you find out that carrots are the revolution? You keep shredding them. You make golden carrot bake. You feed the remains to the goats and chickens. Basically, you eat them and you keep going. And you are stronger.