Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Organic Life

Have you ever started to blog about something, and it turns into something else altogether?

I have, and it has happened so many times. 

I started out thinking about our community garden (I still will blog about it in the near future) and some difficulties with it.  But how did we even begin gardening?   Time for a detour.
Time to stop and smell the...honey locusts

I have memories of a magazine called Organic Gardening, which started publishing in the 1940's. Good memories It was a major influence in my life during my 20's and 30's (1970's and 1980's), especially when my spouse and I homesteaded in Northwest Arkansas.   

I kept reading it even after we returned to our native New York State in the mid-80's, and began to rent plots in a local community garden.

But times change.

A bit less than three years ago, my beloved Organic Gardening magazine turned into something called Rodale's Organic Life, more of a lifestyle magazine.

I wasn't totally happy about the change, and I wasn't the only one.

But I was going to give it a chance.

That magazine, and Mother Earth News, were more than just magazines to me.

I remember going to the Fayetteville, Arkansas library once day (perhaps around 1981 or 1982) and finding, in a giveaway bin, many issues of Organic Gardening.  Some of them were already 10 or 20 years old.  I treasured them, and even moved back to New York with them.  But, eventually, I donated them to the library in Endicott, New York and they found an eager new home (because I got to see the woman who grabbed them, eagerly).

So, getting back to Rodale's Organic Life, I accepted the change, although I wasn't really happy. I started to read back issues at the library.  But then came the May/June 2016 issue.  The theme was "love". Nothing wrong with love, right?

The issue talked about all kinds of love.  Love of peaches.  Love of good cooking.  The free food in India's Golden Temple, served with love.

And...products, non gardening products, designed for the love that, sometimes, produces new, baby gardeners. 

This (at the time) 63 year old woman, who does not consider herself a prude (but I am a product of the 1950's, after all) just stared at two articles which covered various organic (even vegan) devices and other helpful products related to...um, something we share in common with the birds and the bees. 

Not exactly the Organic Gardening of my homesteading days, was it?

I showed one of the articles to my spouse, and he said  "where was this 30 years ago?"
A peaceful farm, Hopewell Junction, New York September 11, 2016

The point isn't that Organic Gardening had morphed into a publication that had strayed away (in my view) from its core values of gardening.  I didn't quite know what to think.

But then, there was even more change.  Earlier this year, the magazine ceased its print edition.  It "went digital".

I think the organic movement needs to teach that the basis of life, food, can be grown in a way that is friendly to our planet. No matter how rich or poor you are.  Or how young or how old.  Male or female.

Digital.  Or print.  I mourn the magazine I once knew.

But I will embrace the digital presence it has become, and see what becomes of it.
Strawberry in bloom, Binghamton, New York, May 2017

However it's done, that teaching is a good thing.

I'm following the former Organic Gardening on Instagram now, along with some favorite seed companies.I'll give it a chance.

If I could show the digital world to my 30ish year old homesteading self, I think she would have approved that message.

It's a timeless message, after all.


  1. It's hard when things we know and love change, but better to change than to just go away. Hope you come to love the new incarceration of this online magazine.

  2. Rebranding for a new generation? I hope it continues to be worth your time.

    As for starting a post and it going in a different direction, I don't have that problem. But I usually write out my posts at odd moments first, then I sit down and input them into the computer.

  3. Organic Gardening was a great resource for me back when I was first gardening. I do garden organically and I guess it is easy to just look up questions but I am too old to be a fan of on line magazines. I like a physical magazine and seed catalogues that come in my mail for free! Boy I sound like an old bitty, but I will own it when it comes to this topic!

  4. Yes I have change crouse in middle of stream...But sometime earlier I will think of something great to blog about and have intention to blog on subject but when it comes to it I total forget.
    Coffee is on

  5. Iam a beginner in gardening and ofcourse i would have loved the magazine about organic gardening.

  6. I may be haunting your blog .I understand your pain.Why do people need to improve on perfection?Digital format us nit a bad thing if the core value remains the same .I am hopping over to Insta to join you and Organic gardening. I love how you right about gardening and plants .#FAN

  7. I am not much into gardening but my husband loves it... he is very much into organic plantation. I thoroughly enjoyed your post


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