Trends in what people believe is important change as culture and population needs shifts. The shift from public interest in local food from organic foods we read this past week, reminded me of of the shifts in garden structure during the period of Antiquity. When agricultural methods were crucial to the food sources for populations, gardens were seen as spaces to grow and domesticate plants for eating and herbs for medicinal use. Lack of water made it difficult to see gardens as sights of pleasurable activity. Yet, after irrigation systems were invented the ability to draw water and better crop yields allowed for public opinion to shift and to look at the garden not as a “market garden” simply intended for production, but as a “pleasure garden.” Changes in population needs affected the way people perceived the importance of the land. As food became more readily available, people turned to cultivating the land for pleasurable pursuits in the form of pleasure gardening.
Cicero’s idea of the first nature and second nature is expanded upon with Bartolomeo Taegio’s idea of the third nature, which explains that as changes in how people desire to cultivate the land formed, so too did ideas about nature’s intended purpose. Similarly, people’s desires for local food over organic food tell us something about changes in population needs and we would do well to listen.