Authors Note: Last year at this time I was asked to write a guest post for the Stark Bros. blog. I was ecstatic as I had just begun guest posting and we were at a crucial time in our Tiny r(E)volution. The post was met with great reception and over the past year I have thought many times about what I was doing, feeling, and experiencing that made me write such a post. I have decided to update it just a little and repost it here this year. I do hope you enjoy it now as much as I did then.

“Gardens are good for our souls. Not merely because they’re therapeutic or because they provide healthy foods or even because they give us a hedge against lean times but rather because, if you look at the big picture, they offer us that thing that we all crave so dearly. They offer that thing that drove our founding fathers to strike out on their own. They offer Freedom!”

– Courtesy Grit Magazine, “The Freedom Garden

For years now, the Odom family has gathered ranks and assembled in rural Barnesville, Georgia for our annual family reunion. Coinciding with the 4th of July weekend we have gathered; tables adorned with centerpieces of red, white, and blue, the Stars and Stripes flying overhead, and warm prayers of thanksgiving being offered. The menu is always classic Americana centering around hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and topped off with a patriotic cake of raspberry bars and blueberry stars.

Several reunions ago I took a look around the pavilion and noticed that at least 1 out of 4 had served in our military and had given of themselves to assure our freedoms. I thought of a great-grandfather, a great-uncle, and a cousin, that had even lost their lives to assure I could be independent of a tyrannical government.

Even now, as I sit thinking about my life and my family and my homestead, my mind poses the question, “Amidst all this freedom, am I really free? Is there no price to pay anymore? Did one life taken mean my life was spared? And if so, why?” Pardon me if it seems a bit troubling that I think that way but each day my Twitter feed is filled with links about the latest greenwashing by American corporations and the most recent genetically modified whatchamacallit seed. My Facebook status updates often have links that point to news articles about Big Brother poisoning our food and selling us products that are laden with artificial this and laboratory-tested that. And so I ask,is that freedom? And if it is, what is the r(E)volution doing to search for a new kind of freedom?

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day (or the 4th of July) is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. It is not traditionally associated with one micro-homesteader in rural Georgia, who claims to know a little something about gardening and is often the center of attention as he builds a tiny house for his family.

But today I challenge this of you. Go outside and run your fingers through the dirt. Really let is sift through your fingers and get lodged under your nails. Then think about the wars fought on soil just like that in your hand. Think about the blood shed into the dirt. Each handful tells a different story; a father, a dad, a brother, even a sister, who gave their life so that we could remain on that plot of Earth. And as you smooth it back down into an undisturbed state remember that no government at any time can take away the freedom that is given to us divinely.

r(E)volution has been born – its future secure – and it manifests in a time of taking back responsibility and control of our food supply. It is a war waged around the board rooms of big business and fought out on the battlefields; the corner of commerce and produce. Even as we stare media munitions in the face and are met with fuel scarcity, rising food costs and the environmental implications, we have hope. We can give thanks. We can claim our independence even in this age of hard times. And now as a father that very independence means more to me than ever. It is my right, my duty, my obligation, and my privilege, to seek it out each moment of each day.

And so today I want to hold in my hand a seed of hope that is not genetically modified or linked to a pesticidal pestilence but that is cultivated in the battle scarred hands of our forefathers, placed in the soil of sacrifice, watered with tears of joy, and sprouted with confidence in a world that is truly free; a world where we can gather and grow; a community of r(E)volutionaries!