On Going Green
The Editor in Chief reflects on his own brother's green thumb and that of the state at large.
For the past five years, freelance writers and my own editors have been hounding me to do a story on this visionary guy from Scarborough who launched an international gardening movement from his kitchen table. I said, “No.” They responded that he’d won prestigious fellowships and awards and written widely read articles on the importance of eating local food. And still I shook them off. But when they came back to me with the news that this madman was “auctioning” off the White House lawn on eBay in order to persuade President Obama to plant a kitchen garden there, I relented. Some stories just won’t be denied.
Why did I resist this particular subject so intensely? Because the visionary in question is my brother, Roger.
So that’s my first disclosure. My second disclosure is that I agreed to have Down East profile him on the condition that I get nowhere near the piece; the feature you’ll find on page 57 was written by Contributing Editor Michaela Cavallaro and edited by Deputy Editor Joshua F. Moore. In truth, it was hard to conceive of a green-themed Maine house and garden issue and not include Kitchen Gardeners International, the truly grassroots organization Roger Doiron founded in 2004. As we note in “Good Lives: A Selected History of Sustainability in Maine” [page 50], there seems to be something in the soil here that fertilizes free-thinkers — Mainers were living sustainably long before Scott and Helen Nearing arrived on Cape Rosier in 1952. “Green,” of course, has now become a mass-market, consumer trend, generally for the good in my opinion. It’s been entertaining watching the rest of the country catch up with Maine on the virtues of living closer to the land, even as it has been sobering to watch Mainers surrender so much to suburbanization and sprawl.
That leads me to my third and final disclosure: my own life isn’t particularly green. Sure, I live within walking distance of town and recycle my rice-milk cartons. On warm days I ride my bicycle five miles to work. But generally speaking, like most Americans, I drive more than I need to and eat things I shouldn’t. My brother offers the right advice. We can beat ourselves up over our hypocrisies (this issue was not printed on recycled paper) or we can begin taking steps in the right direction. My first one will be to plant a few more tomatoes next spring.
Editor in Chief
- By: Paul Doiron