|Posted on February 26, 2011 at 10:30 PM|
For those of you who have ventured beyond my blog page and have visited the home page of this site, you know that I am committed to spreading the word that personal food production gardening should not be relegated to a “charming memory” from our past but that it indeed has a place in our modern lives. I realize how hard it can be for many people to incorporate a traditional garden in their lives, because houses are being placed on increasingly smaller lots and many people live in apartments and condominiums. While those situations truly pose significant challenges for those that would also have a kitchen garden in their lives, it is not impossible. For example, many communities have pea patches that may be rented or other community garden areas that are worth looking into. Often it takes a while to get a plot assigned but if the alternative is to not garden at all, then I would suggest the wait is worth it. The bottom line is, if you want it, there are ways to have a food production garden in your life – even in densely populated urban areas. For those of us lucky enough to have a little more land to work with, there are still many challenges in having a working food production garden in our everyday lives. I sincerely believe though that the rewards far outweigh the time demands and other inconveniences that come with a modern victory garden. This is something I feel quite strongly about.
You might ask … why? Why is producing more of our own food that important in a world that has corporations and transportation systems established for the sole purpose of bringing us anything we desire, when we desire it, and in forms that take all the labor out of preparation? I would answer that it is for those very reasons that we should be motivated to grow as much as we can for ourselves, and to the extent we cannot produce everything ourselves, to seek local and more sustainable sources for the rest of what we need. Those are alarming words to the economic engine that literally banks on our complacency and love affair with “Franken Food” and “food on demand”. It is tantamount to a revolution to seriously talk about a more simple approach to feeding ourselves because (to put it simply) there is very little money to be made from growing food close to home, processing it as minimally as possible, and eating more seasonally.
Make no mistake; the corporate food system has an extremely big stake in keeping us out of the business of producing more of our own food. It extracts money from us at each step - from the genetically patented seeds that are not permitted to be saved – to the healthcare system that rakes in money from our many health related issues caused by a substandard diet. If you doubt me on this, just count how many commercials for pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes, high cholesterol, weight problems, and depression are run on a network television station between 5pm and 7pm. It is a very lucrative business. In between the patented seeds and our declining health, there is money to be made from factory farming, bioengineering, fertilizer manufacturing, pesticide manufacturing, food engineering, manufacturing and processing, cold storage and warehousing, advertising, packaging, shipping, retailing, and (to add insult to grievous injury) the production of vitamin supplements to make up for the lack of nutrition in today’s highly processed food. Is it any wonder that amidst all this seeming abundance that we literally hunger for food… real food?
There are other reasons to strive for greater production of our own food. I personally consider food security a high motivator. Producing more of our own food reduces the financial impacts of significant price increases caused by fossil fuel constraints, commercial crop failures, and geopolitical events (war and trade disagreements for example). The need to mitigate rising food prices looks like it may become even more critical in 2011 as current indicators point to significant supply decreases and dramatic food price increases.
If those reasons were not compelling enough for you, I would add one last reason to include personal food production in your every day life – its good for body and soul. The garden is a great place to reconnect with what is important in life and to literally stay "grounded", and the food we reap from it can be nutritionally much more dense and healthful than our alternative sources - so long as we remember to tend to the soil’s good health as well.
I challenge all of us to declare greater independence from corporate food systems, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to bring food to the table, and cultivate a healthier and more fulfilling life. Are you up for the challenge?