I have this idea that I wish someone would run with.
The inspiration came from looking at a stack of discarded catalogs by my wood stove this winter. Two of which have compelling images that whisper urgently in my ear, “This could be yours.”
One was a Title Nine catalog. If you are not familiar with Title Nine, they are a company named for the 1972 federal law that put men’s and women’s sports on more equal footing in public schools and colleges. They make fashionably athletic clothes for women—picture a lithe woman in a sporty dress carrying a surfboard as she bikes the boardwalk at sunset. This life (I mean dress and flip flops) could be yours, on sale, for $129.
The other was a Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog. Picture rainbow colored pages of tomatoes, peppers, greens, with poetically technical descriptions of their attributes. That’s right; 15 heirloom tomato plants could be yours for about $5.
I thought about the way I feel after looking at the clothing catalog. Why aren’t I going rock climbing every weekend in that tank top? Why am I stacking firewood in this old sweatshirt when I would look so much cuter wearing that swishy wrap dress? My life just isn’t measuring up!
Then I think about the rush of motivation I get when leafing through a seed catalog—making mental leaps from seeds to jars of sauce on my shelves, visualizing green patchworks of succession plantings. My life is just too rich to sit in this chair one more second!
Since I have worked a lot with young women, I know I am not alone in the despair that follows looking through a clothing catalog—no matter how empowering the images. However, I don’t think nearly enough young people experience such a flood of hope and purpose when looking at pictures of vegetables.
So, here’s my idea.
Let’s bring the fashion marketer’s trick to seed catalogs! Picture smiling, healthy people biting into fresh tomatoes, juggling summer squash with friends, and having whimsical fun with beet juice on their hands—all at the golden hour. Sell the lifestyle. Sell the very real benefits of growing your own food—good health, happiness, independence…
What young person doesn’t want that? What old person doesn’t want that? And the kicker is, this promise is within everyone’s reach, especially with Grow Appalachia by your side.
I really think it can work. Any takers?