Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day / Good Friday

Today is Earth Day, which is completely overshadowed in my corner of the world by its also being Good Friday. I have always taken Good Friday very seriously, and so did a sort of media fast (not entirely, obviously) and listened to classical music if anything, while making a big bowl of egg salad for the weekend's meals. We spent the time from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the liturgy at the monastery, where I felt very clear and focused-- not always the case in those long liturgies!

I also did some preparations for Sunday, when we're hosting Steve's family. We'll have 23 adults and 9 children (plus one infant!), and I'm not sure if that's larger than in previous years, but because the weather has been so bad and we can't expect the children to eat on the porch and then play outside, it feels larger.

It took me awhile in the cracker aisle to find the "Original" Triscuits I wanted for crackers and cheese. That's because the box had been transformed into an ad for "home farming." The slogan is "Plant a seed, grow a movement."

The back of the box includes a "seed card" with about 10 basil seeds embedded in it. The side of the box has a "clip and save" explanation on how to grow your basil card. Step 1: soak the card for 2-4 hours. Step 2: Peel the seed card in two to expose the seeds. Step 3: place both card pieces seed-side up in an8: pot filled with dirt. Cover the seed cards with 1/4" of dirt. Step 4: Keep the soil moist, but not overly wet. Make sure the seeds get about 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Step 5: in about 10-12 days, the seeds should sprout and in days you'll be enjoying your fresh herbs.

Oh really? I have some really nice looking basil seedlings in my basement. They get water and lots of sunlight. They have been there for a month already. It will definitely be another month before they have enough leaves to be harvested. Maybe more. Because, unless it is July, there really isn't enough heat and warmth to grow basil. And it doesn't grow quickly. It might work better for people who buy their Triscuits for the 4th of July.

But what is so interesting to me, is the marketing. The seed packet is just part of the effort. It has more to do with their partnership with the home Farming Movement and their commitment to create 65 "community-based home farms." I'm not sure what that means, but 50 and an additional 15 this year doesn't sound like many for a giant corporation like Nabisco, which is really part of a more giant corporation, Kraft Foods.

The bottom of my box tells me that the "seeds are a product of India." They must be sold by 6/11, which means don't wait until the 4th of July shopping to get them. 

I'm all for a home farming movement. I hope everyone starts planting-- and a lot more than basil. The young woman on the front is very healthy looking, has her hair in proper farming braids and a basket of carrots, kale and cucumbers. In the back is a fine-looking raised bed of lettuce. The back of the box shows another basket of carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini.

I'm thinking when people find out how long it takes to grow a little basil plant, they might not be on board to get this movement going forward... Go on, Triscuit lovers, surprise me!

As for me, I am now a registered member of  the Triscuit home farming Web site. Hey, they said I might win $1,000 if I gave them some of my information and agreed to a very thorough usage contract that doesn't allow me to reprint anything from the site or software or sue them for any reason. I don't think they can stop me from retyping what is on my box, however. Can they? We'll see what happens.

By the way, I downloaded the image of the Triscuits from this web site: 

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