Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Garden As If Your Life Depended On It, Because It Does

There are at least five reasons why more of us should take up the spade, make some compost, and start gardening with a vengeance.

Garden hen/Wikimedia Commons image
Ellen LaConte

Spring has sprung -- at least south of the northern tier of states where snow still has a ban on it -- and the grass has 'riz. And so has the price of most foods, which is particularly devastating just now when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, retired or retiring, on declining or fixed incomes and are having to choose between paying their mortgages, credit card bills, car payments, and medical and utility bills and eating enough and healthily. Many are eating more fast food, prepared foods, junk food -- all of which are also becoming more expensive -- or less food.

In some American towns, and not just impoverished backwaters, as many as 30 percent of residents can't afford to feed themselves and their families sufficiently, let alone nutritiously. Here in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina where I live it's 25 percent. Across the country one out of six of the elderly suffers from malnutrition and hunger. And the number of children served one or two of their heartiest, healthiest meals by their schools grows annually as the number of them living at poverty levels tops 20 percent. Thirty-seven million Americans rely on food banks that now routinely sport half-empty shelves and report near-empty bank accounts. And this is a prosperous nation!

In some cases this round of price hikes on everything from cereal and steak to fresh veggies and bread -- and even the flour that can usually be bought cheaply to make it -- will be temporary. But over the long term the systems that have provided most Americans with a diversity, quantity and quality of foods envied by the rest of the world are not going to be as reliable as they were.

What's for Supper Down the Road?

As they move through the next few decades Americans can expect:

  • The price of conventionally produced food to rise and not come down again;
  • Prices to rollercoaster so that budgeting is unpredictable;
  • Some foods to become very expensive compared to what we're used to;
  • And other foods, beginning with some of the multiple versions of the same thing made by the same company to garner a bigger market share and more shelf space, to gradually become unavailable.
Tremors in food supply chains and pricing will make gardening look like a lot more than a hobby, a seasonal workout, a practical way to fill your pantry with your summer favorites, or a physically, spiritually and mentally healing activity, or all four. Gardening and small-scale and collective farming, especially of staple crops and the ones that could stave off malnutrition, could become as important as bringing home the bacon, both the piggy and the dollar kind. Why?

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Anonymous said...

Don't just garden, learn Permaculture

Anonymous said...

I wonder if others are concerned about radioactive matter from Fukunobyl getting into their gardens?

The wife and I are putting in a garden now, and are considering plasticing over the soil and manure once the rows are cut in, not wanting to contaminate it for future years. Whats worse it that we'd planned to use rainwater collection, and that's clearly not advisable with isotopes from Fukushima raining down at levels higher than allowable in drinking water.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking the same thing, since my backyard garden beds are ready to go - as soon as I get my plant-sets. We've already had lots of rain the last few days - so, the dirt in the beds is probably already contaminated. North Carolina, on the East Coast of the USA - has reported that radiation has been detected in small amounts, so that would mean the entire US Continent has already been radiated. Oh, and we all need to remember - the stuxnet worm was a CIA-MOSSAD ADVERTISED and credited joint invention - and the evidence is pretty strong that it was involved in the Japan disasters.

Anonymous said...

Is there any plastic that can protect anything from radioactive iodine? Cesium maybe? What do we really know about it? I mean if the EPA is upping the allowable safe doses of these radioactive substances... my question is why? Are they trying to hide it from us? Why be told to stock up on potassium iodide to have it recanted and then the President tells us NOT to prepare at all. Something is amiss. Nobody tells a people not to prepare at all.. that is rediculous, now we find out it is all over the U.S. HaHa! What lies!! So, we have to find out for ourselves what to do to protect ourselves. Doesn't radioactive iodine flow through walls?

Barry Carter said...

Dear Friends,

Last year I wrote a similar article on this topic:

Garden Life on Earth

With kindest regards,
Barry Carter
bcarter at igc dot org

Anonymous said...

easy >_> do what they did in chernobyl put in eartworms they eat all the toxic radiation out of the dirt

Anonymous said...

certain plants will absorb radiation and pull it out of the soil

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