Stepping up to the plate

"Society comprises two classes: those who have more food than appetite, and those who have more appetite than food." ~Sébastien-Roch Nicholas de Chamfort, Maximes

The February 26th, 2011 edition of the Oneonta Daily Star has a column by Lisa Miller called ,"As food prices rise sustainability makes more sense". The article mentions that the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization claimed that in January the world's food prices rose to their highest level in 30 years. It also stated that the World Bank made a claim this month that global food prices have risen nearly 29% in the past year to what they called, "dangerous levels".

For those of us living in the real world this comes as no surprise. We all know how difficult it can be at times to put food on the table. Of course everyone's situation is unique but I would like to focus on my particular county for a moment because I believe there are similarities to be found all across the country. I live in a largely rural county and it is one of the poorest, economically speaking, in the country. As I have mentioned in past post my family really started growing vegetables seriously when I lost my job a few years ago. We have a 16th of an acre and do not use the full amount of property available but still end up with a solid harvest at the end of a years work. The point that I am trying to make is that there is an awful lot of wasted land in this country. I understand that not everyone likes to garden, they view it as work and would much rather spend their time doing something else. I also realize that there are people who physically cannot garden for one reason or another and that there is also a population, even in rural America, who do not have the land to garden on. With that said though I really believe that the solution on some level is right at our fingertips. People have become way too dependent on grocery stores and fast food chains for their daily bread. Growing your own food is a healthy lifestyle for so many different reasons. To begin with it is empowering to put food on your own table. It gives people the confidence to know that they can take care of themselves and those they care about. It is also a great way to save money, which is something all of us could use a little more of I'm sure. Seeds and starter plants are pennies on the dollar when it comes to the grocery bill. Take lettuce, for example, a pack of seeds goes for $2.25 or so. In that packet there are anywhere from 250 to 500 seeds, each one giving you a head of lettuce. Now compare that to the price of a head of lettuce at the grocery store. There are also obvious health benefits just from the exercise involved in working in your garden and spending time in the sunshine, while working hand in hand with members of your family or community.

It would be interesting to see the results if people were as concerned about growing veggies in their backyard as they were about mowing and manicuring it. For those without the space to grow there are still options. Try finding individuals of like mind and starting a community garden. If you are not a people person grow some containers on your window sill or porch. It doesn't have to be huge by any means but every little bit helps. You would be surprised at the amount of pleasure one gets from tending a single plant let alone an entire garden.

There are so many possibilities for ones yard. Fruits such as apples or blueberries. Edible flowers, herbs to enhance the flavors of your families meals not to mention all the unique heirloom varieties available on the market today.

Prices have gone up, that is true, but people need to do more than just complain. They need to step up to the plate so to speak and grow their own. In a rural community such as Delaware County there is no excuse for anyone to go hungry when there is so much land available.


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